MANILA — Isabela Rep. Rodito” T. Albano III on Tuesday said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should immediately stop the “coercive or forced” purchase of new car plates by vehicle owners with usable or serviceable car plates as he also demanded the refund of payments made by millions of vehicle owners in the country who were coerced to fork over Php450.00 for the yearly renewal of vehicle registration.
“This policy of ‘coercive or forced’ purchase of new vehicle plates by the LTO must be stopped immediately to prevent millions of vehicle owners from being victimized by this multi-billion peso ‘milk and bilk’ racket of the state transport office,” Albano, senior member of the House Minority Bloc, said.
According to Albano, the LTO should refund other vehicle owners whom they have coerced to buy the controversial new car plates under threat of non-registration and eventual ban in the use of these vehicles by their owners.
“The LTO new car plate racket as foisted on vehicle owners with registered vehicles that have usable or good condition car plates is clearly organized state coercion with harsh punitive outcome that strikes fear on all vehicle owners seeking renewal of their vehicle registration this year,” he pointed out.
In taking up the cudgels for vehicle owners, the veteran solon said “they are unwitting and helpless victims of this state instigated car plates racket because renewal of vehicle registration in the past years only required payment of the annual renewal of registration fee and for a renewal sticker.”
He said the LTO should stop this scandalous, graft and corruption ridden policy immediately and refund all vehicle owners victimized by this odious and totally abominable racket in the light of the Commission on Audit (COA) order to the LTO to stop payments to plate supplier – Power Plates Development Concepts Inc. and J. Knieriem BV Goes or JKG, due to ‘unfulfilled documentary requirements.’
“It is therefore fair, just and timely for this ‘coercive or forced’ purchase of vehicle license plates by the LTO to be stopped immediately and a refund of the payment made for the cost of the new car plates that vehicle owners with usable car plates undertaken as soon as possible,” Albano explained.
He stressed that LTO must instead issue the renewal stickers to registered vehicles which have existing registration and usable car plates.
He said the Php400.00 should be refunded to all vehicle owners victimized by the LTO’s new car plates racket.
The LTO, Albano said, can keep the Php50 pesos to cover the cost of the renewal sticker, which based on real market costs is scandalously priced too high and which should be probed as well.
Albano said he will pursue a congressional investigation on this new car plates racket of the LTO.
“Tama na, sobra na, itigil na itong dagdag pahirap sa taong bayan,” Albano, head of the House contingent for the Minority Bloc of the Commission on Appointments, said.