22 October 2021 – Two fixers who offered “sure pass” emission testing and vehicle registration renewal with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to motorists despite the non-appearance of their vehicle was arrested in an entrapment operation launched by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Friday.
The two fixers, both women, worked in the same emission testing center in Parañaque City—one as a cashier and the other as a data encoder.
Tedious surveillance work by ARTA undercover agents revealed that the fixers used a social media app to offer their illegal services to motorists.
The social media posts of the said emission testing center state that they are only offering emission testing. But when interested applicants contact the mobile numbers posted, they will also be offered non-appearance LTO vehicle registration renewal services.
An undercover ARTA agent, who posed as an applicant for motorcycle registration renewal, was instructed to bring their motorcycle to the testing center on 20 October and pay P1,830 for the said illegal services.
After the vehicle underwent emission testing, the agent was told to return on Friday to claim the complete LTO registration renewal documents from the suspect. When asked by the agent if the motorcycle needs to be brought to LTO Parañaque, one of the fixer said that there is no need for it.
Roberto Mejorada, Jr., Administrative Aide IV of LTO Parañaque, condemned the illegal service being offered by the fixers, implying that it could endanger lives.
“Hindi ito dapat nangyayari dahil may tamang proseso na pinagdadaanan ang pagpaparehistro ng sasakyan to make sure that it’s roadworthy,” he said.
“Isa ito sa filters ng LTO to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy. Eventually, roadworthiness will translate to road safety,” he added.
The emission testing center employees were arrested after handing over the complete registration renewal documents of the agent on Friday afternoon.
Police Major General Albert Ignatius Ferro, PNP-CIDG director, played a vital role in ordering elements of the police to augment ARTA’s forces throughout the entrapment operation.
The fixers are now under CIDG custody at the Southern Police District (SPD) Headquarters for booking procedures prior to filing of charges for violation of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
The PNP-CIDG confiscated around 205 processed motor vehicle registration renewal, 15 stronghold insurance policy, and 46 Official Receipts of motor vehicle registration renewals which were verified to be authentic by an LTO employee. These will be used as evidence against the suspects.
Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, ARTA Director General, ordered an investigation in the emission testing center for any more signs of red tape.
He also warned private institutions, such as testing centers, to not abuse the responsibility that they have been granted because it could easily be taken back.
“Nananawagan ako sa emission centers, private institutions, huwag niyo abusuhin ‘yung responsibilidad na binibigay sainyo dahil mabilis itong mabawi, makansela, masuspinde,” he said.
A show-cause order was also served to the head of LTO Parañaque to explain within seven working days the initial findings of the ARTA-Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation Office (CMEO) in the office.
Sec. Belgica also reminded government officials to display “strong resolve” in battling red tape and the public to not engage with fixers as to not abet corruption.