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MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives cited in contempt former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official Jeff Tumbado, who accused the agency and its suspended chief, Teofil Guadiz, of corruption, for failing to substantiate his claims.
In a nearly six-hour inquiry at the lower chamber on Monday, October 23, Tumbado admitted he did not have concrete evidence that would prove his corruption claims against the agency. His affidavit with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) reportedly detailed only his sentiments and did not delve into the LTFRB’s alleged violations.
Tumbado also failed to name those supposedly involved in corruption related to the implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program. He said he only received reports of agency officials charging PUV operators for services.
“I believe the answers supplied by Mr. Tumbado to us for every question asked by its member did not bring any consolation, did not bring any enlightenment on the part of the members of this committee,” said SAGIP Representative Rodante Marcoleta, who moved to cite him in contempt.
“After each and every question…there has not been basis for us to believe any of his statements and answers or replies to every question,” he added.
Multiple lawmakers pointed out that Tumbado kept changing his answers, which led to confusion.
Reason for recantation
On October 9, Tumbado claimed some LTFRB officials charged operators of PUVs to process requests. This included paperwork involving an operator’s franchise, obtaining special permits, or requests to modify their routes.
Two days after going public with his claims, Tumbado recanted his statements and denied Guadiz’s involvement in an attempt to absolve his former boss. Tumbado also admitted on Monday that Guadiz was only dragged into the mess because of an earlier argument they had prior to his resignation.
Despite backtracking on his claims against the former LTFRB chief, Tumbado maintained that corruption still existed in the agency.
In his affidavit of recantation, Tumbado said the allegations were “unintentional and misguided,” further explaining that it was borne out of “poor decision-making.”
While he denied receiving threats to drop his claims, Tumbado’s sworn statement with the NBI said he had since started worrying about his safety and that of his family. – Rappler.com