June 17, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

3 erring LTO employees arrested for stealing license plates

THREE personnel of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) were arrested at noon on Thursday, January 25, after they were caught stealing license plates from the agency’s Plate Making Plant in Quezon City.

LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Atty. Vigor D. Mendoza II identified the arrested suspects as embossers Jenard Arida and Arjay Anasco; and warehouse staff Valeriano Nerizon, all assigned to the Plate Making Plant at the LTO Central Office in Quezon City.

Under the guidance of Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Mendoza said he already ordered a large-scale manhunt against Allan Joker Abrigo, another LTO employee who served as the team leader and possibly the boss of the three arrested suspects.

Assec Mendoza lauded the LTO Intelligence and Investigation Division led by Renante G. Militante, for working tirelessly and relentlessly on the case since they detected the wrongdoing. 

He also expressed gratitude to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. for his quick action when the LTO sought police assistance after learning of the modus of the three erring LTO employees.

“Gaya ng ipinangako natin sa taumbayan, we will not tolerate this kind of illegal activity and we will make sure that those who would dare to continue with their wrongdoings will be caught and held responsible. The arrest of these three people is proof of that,” said Mendoza.

“In coordination with the DILG and the Philippine National Police, we are now conducting investigation to all those involved in this modus and to determine if they are part of any criminal syndicate,” he added.

The investigation on the case started when the office of Militante received raw information last year about possible theft of license plates. 

Assec Mendoza immediately tasked Militante to ensure that those responsible were caught, as he also cited the danger involved in the illegal activity as the stolen license plates could be used for criminal activities.

The thorough investigation into the case led to the identification of the three suspects who are allegedly threatening their co-workers in the Plate Making Plant of harm if they would spill the beans on their modus.

On Jan. 25, Militante was tipped that the three were again doing illegal activity which led him to contact Police Col. Bernard Yang, Senior Police Assistant to Secretary Abalos. 

After the information was relayed to Secretary Abalos, he immediately tasked the PNP to provide assistance to the LTO which led to the arrest of the three suspects while sneaking out five pieces of license plates out of the Plate Making Plant at noon on Thursday.

𝗔𝗹𝗹-𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗲

Assec Mendoza has directed Militante to leave no stones unturned in the conduct of the investigation over the possibility that the three arrested suspects are members of a criminal syndicate. 

“Based on the result of the investigation, they are selling the license plate at P10,000 per piece. We are now trying to determine how long and how many license plates have been stolen by these errant employees,” said Assec Mendoza. 

“There is a syndicate behind these people involved in carnapping, smuggling and other serious crimes. We will run after the mastermind and the buyers. It appears na matagal na itong embedded at the LTO. More employees will be investigated as part of our weeding out of scalawags,” he stressed.

The suspects are now detained and are facing charges of Violation of Article 310 (Qualified Theft) and Article 294 (Robbery) of the Revised Penal Code.

Assec Mendoza said administrative charges will also be filed against them.

Secretary Bautista lauded the LTO officials for uncovering the modus and vowed to provide all forms of assistance in running after all those involved.

“This is just the start of this. We will continue to weed out scalawag employees out of the LTO and other agencies under the DOTr,” said Secretary Bautista.

For his part, Secretary Abalos has committed support and assistance in the conduct of investigation to dig deeper on this case and make all those people involved accountable for their illegal activities. 

“Makakaasa ang LTO at ang taumbayan ng patuloy naming pagtutulungan upang matigil, usigin at tapusin na ang maliligayang araw ng mga taong ito. Under the leadership of our President “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., we will be relentless in running after these people,” said Secretary Abalos.

𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴

Based on the investigation, the arrested suspects are part of a grand illegal scheme involving newly-acquired motor vehicles through financing. 

A thorough investigation revealed that the modus starts with a leader or a financier who will acquire a vehicle through financing and will  illegally sell the vehicle using duplicated plates and fake OR/CR.

By doing so, the financier finds its way to provide a fraudulent plate and OR/CR from his/her contact inside LTO amounting to or less P20,000 each pair of plates. More so, his/her contact will then request the Plate Making Plant (PMP) team leader to illegally put these so-called duplicate plates. 

When the duplicated plate is already produced, the team leader “Warehouse Supervisor”, upon receiving his/her payment will then give the duplicated plates to the financier through courier to complete his/her transaction.

Assec Mendoza said that the scheme could be classified as technical carnapping as motor vehicles do not necessarily need to be modified or tampered with anymore as it would only constitute the crime of carnapping which the syndicates are avoiding. 

Today, those motor vehicles sourced from Rent-Tangay, Assume-Balance, Labas-Casa-Talon, etc. just needed falsified registration documents and other documentation such as agreements, etc.

“The most important part of Technical Carnapping is the role of the con artist that usually fronts in the transaction by disguising themselves as the registered car owner during the disposal phase,” said Assec Mendoza. 

“Hence, a backstop identification card and other proof that can support the belief that the con artist is the registered owner is essential in the documentation prior to the disposal of the motor vehicle. The con artist must have valid identification cards (falsified or bogus) that will match the name in the falsified registration documents,” he added.

Further, considering that the motor involved is still under a mortgage and the original documents were still under the bank’s possession, the syndicate has no option but to directly make a purported original copy.