A complaint by a victim of the fixers’ syndicated operation at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Tagbilaran branch resulted to a quick police action which brought the alleged fixers to the city police headquarters for questioning last Wednesday.
CityÂ PNP chiefÂ Inspector George Vale ordered a team to pick up the involved fixers as reported by complainant, Maricel Limocon who earlier aired her sad tale at the local LTO during a personal visit she made to the top-rated “Inyong Alagad” program of dyRD.
Limocon sought the assistance of the radio program after fixers whom she was dealing failed to deliver on their promised professional license after forking out P4,036.00 as “facilitation fee”.
Limocon told “Inyong Alagad” that she was promised by a certain Susana Desierto, an employee of Mildstone Insurance for the speedy release of her professional license for P4,036.00 despite knowing that her student permit had already expired.
After given the run around by Diestro , she decided to file a complaint with the police authorities for grave threat after the alleged fixer threatened her with physical harm for “scandalous behavior and demanding the return of her money”.
The complaint filed by Limocon raised the hackles of Vale and immediately ordered a police team to pick up the alleged fixers for a confrontation with Limocon at the police station.
The LTO security guardÂ was implicated by Limocon after he allegedly assisted the fixer in the medical and drug tests requirements.
When sought for her side during the “Inyong Alagad”program,Â Diestro explained that the amountÂ she received from Limocon covered fees for license application – P168; professional license – P518; practical driving – P250 and examination fee of P1,500.Â Inclusive are the medical and drug tests amounting to P600.00 for a total of P3036.00.
The remaining P1,000 was for commissions of fixers but according to Patalinghug the examination is free which would increase the commissions to P2,500.00.
To avoid the “scandalous behavior” of Limocon, the alleged fixer returned the money but maintained that even if she was dealing with fixers which she paid commission fees for their efforts, Diestro said “this is the practice in the LTO and I find nothing unusual about this since we are only helping our clients Â of the insurance company”.
After their confrontation at the city police headquarters, Diestro returned the money to LimoconÂ but Vale admonished Limocon that she could not pursue a case against Diestro since she accepted the money from her.
LTO Tagbilaran District Head Erwin Patalinghug covered up for his employees while pointing an accusing finger at the fixers saying “fixers toss the blame on us if the transaction fails. I will vouch for the reputation of LTO employees especially those who are handling the examinations for license”.
However Vale claimed that “despite being warned not to deal with fixers, Boholanos still insist in talking to them while the LTO despite their knowledge about the identity of these fixers continue to deal with them”.
A certain Elmer Garcia and Junior Balaba were identified by Vale on the police list of notorious fixers while Patalinghug also bared that an employee of a vehicle insurance company, a certain Susana Diestro is the subject of “rampant complaints” as fixer.
BEWARE OF FIXERS
To avoid the influence of fixers, Patalinghug advised clients to always refer to the LTO’s service standard or Citizen’s Charter posted at the main entrance of the office.
The Citizen’s Charter details the procedure to secure a permit/license, persons responsible for each step, maximum time to conclude a process, amount of fees and the procedure to file a complaint.
A fixer, according to RA 9485 known as the “Anti Red Tape Act of 2007” refers to an individual whether or not officially involved in the operation of a government office or agency who has access to people working therein, and wherther or not in collusion with them, facilitates speedy completion of transactions for pecuniary gain or any other advantage or consideration.
The “Anti Red Tape Act of 2007” mandates the adoption of simplified procedures that will reduce red tape and expedite transactions in government.
With the entry of the police in the never ending battle against fixers at the LTO office as part of their plan to curtail opportunities to inflict further suffering on the public, PCInsptor Vale issued a stern warning “their days are numbered”.Â (CMV)