June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Abalos vows to crush ring peddling stolen vehicle plates

INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos on Friday (January 28) vowed to run after and totally dismantle a syndicate engaged in stealing license plates right inside the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) plate making plant.

This, as he warned the remaining ring members including the mastermind to give up peacefully or face the prospect of being hunted relentlessly by law enforcers.

The Philippine National Police is one of the attached agencies under the DILG.

Initial reports indicated that the syndicate reportedly sells each pair of stolen vehicle plates between P5,000 to P10,000 to their buyers.

“Sa mga grupong ito sumurender na kayo. Dahil maski saan tutugisin namin kayo. Tigilan nyo na ito (pagnanakaw ng plaka) at nabisto na kayo,” Abalos said during the joint DILG-LTO press conference held at the LTO Main Office, in Quezon City.

Abalos issued the warning following the arrest of three LTO personnel who were caught red-handed while trying to illegally bring out from inside the plant five pairs of stolen license plates.

The suspects were nabbed during an operation conducted by the combined operatives of the LTO and DILG-Special Projects Group.

Two of the suspects were embossers at the facility while the other was a warehouse staff.

Abalos said that an investigation is still ongoing and they are determined to find out the extent of the operations of the syndicate, and identify their cohorts including the mastermind who remains at large.

Charges of five counts of qualified theft under Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code and the illegal production of LTO plate numbers under Section 31 of Republic Act 4136, are being readied against the suspects.

Abalos is confident they have an airtight case against the suspects given the strong evidence that the LTO Intelligence Division and DILG Special Projects Group had gathered so far.

According to Abalos, he immediately dispatched the DILG- Special Projects Group which reports directly to him, after LTO Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza II sought police assistance in arresting the suspects.

Abalos lauded Assistant Secretary Mendoza, LTO Intelligence and Investigation Division Chief Renante G. Militante, and DILG Special Projects Group headed by P/Major Andres Daquial, for a job well done.

“I emphasize that this is a case build-up initiated by the LTO Intelligence Division. That’s why I commend Asec Vigor and Renante Militante for their swift action on this case,” Abalos said.

Abalos meanwhile directed the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to coordinate with the office of Asec Mendoza and help the latter in recovering previously stolen plates.

The DILG Chief also advised the public especially would-be vehicle buyers to first check with LTO on the validity of QR Codes inked in the LTO plate numbers before making any purchase.

“Ito’y babala sa lahat ng bibili (ng sasakyan), huwag kayong umasa sa pakita lamang ng plaka. I check niyo muna sa LTO kung may laman ang QR code ng mga ito,” he said.