BAGUIO CITY – Complaints continue to pile up against embattled assistant regional Director Mahammad Naser Abbas of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation (DOTr-CAR) following the execution of complaint affidavits by a number of vehicle owners regarding his having collected money from them in the guise of being the one to remit their fines to the concerned office for their purported violations but actually did not remit the same upon verification.
In a 2-page affidavit, Reynaldo Bacoco, of legal age and resident of Km. 4 Asin Road, Baguio City, and an officer of the federation of van services whose route of operation covers the Cordillera Administrative Region and the neighboring areas of Regions I, II and II, stated that sometime in the morning of March 28, 2018, an operator of a UV express service called and informed him that his motor vehicle with plat number ABF-3508 which was then driven by a certain Hilario Marcelo along Kennon road was allegedly flagged down and apprehended by Abbas.
Bacoco claimed that the operator asked his assistance considering that they have all the pertinent documents and authority to operate a UV express service and then he subsequently called the driver who informed him that the said vehicle has been impounded by Abbas at the Baguio Athletic Bowl compound and that the embattled DOTr-CAR official reportedly issued a temporary operator’s permit to the driver.
He reportedly proceeded to the Baguio Athletic Bowl to see what happened and upon arrival in the place, Abbas was still there so he approached him and talked to the official about the apprehension, explaining that the impounded vehicle has the appropriate documents for it to operate.
While conversing with Abbas, Bacoco revealed that Samuel Fernandez, an officer of a UV association also arrived to assist an operator whose vehicle as also apprehended by Abbas.
Both Bacoco and Fernandez appealed to Abbas regarding the impounded vehicles considering the necessity of the same to operate considering the high passenger demand at that time because it was then the Holy Week, however, Abbas allegedly refused to adhere to their representations and told them to talk to him at his office at the DOTr-CAR located in the Post office area.
Bacoco and Fernandez then went to the office of Abbas as ordered by the latter but despite having to wait for quite some time, the said official filed to meet with them.
In the afternoon of the same day, Abbas called them and directed them to seem him at his office later in the afternoon, thus, they went to the office of Abbas for the appointment.
Armed with the documents, the duo appealed to Abbas and after a while, Abbas stated that as his way of helping them regarding the apprehended vehicles, he will downgrade his citations or charges to another violation and from colorum violation as cited in the temporary operator’s permit, he agreed and decided on the lower violation of failure to carry the certificate of public convenience (CPC) as the alleged violations committed.
The affiants claimed that Abbas then told them that if they wanted and so as to facilitate payment as it was already around 4:30 pm that day and near closing time of their office, they could just leave the payment of the fines or penalties in the amount of P5,000 each with him.
Both individuals allegedly handed P5,000 each to the secretary of Abbas as directed by Abbas for the payment of the violations in behalf of the operators that they were assisting and in turn, the secretary recorded in her logbook an acknowledgement and receipt of the amounts they gave.
The said individuals and Abbas then proceeded to the Baguio Athletic Bowl where the latter released the motor vehicles but upon verification, they eventually learned that the apprehension for CPC not carried were not transmitted to the adjudication office and that the penalty for the said violations were not actually paid despite having given the amounts of P5,000 each to Abbas for the payment of the fine for the said apprehension.
In a separate 2page affidavit, Juliet Ligawen and Samuel Fernandez, both operators of UV expressed services authorized to operate along the route Baguio City to Cabanatuan City and vice versa, stated that in the morning of March 28, 2018 along Kennon road, a UV express service bearing license plate number AYU-341 which was operated by Ligawen was the operator and driven by a certain Guillermo Cayat was flagged down and apprehended by Abbas.
Ligawen then called Fernandez, her fellow UV express service operator and an officer of their association, asking for assistance regarding the matter and that she was adamant on the apprehension considering that the said UV express service was duly registered and was operating with a valid franchise.
Fernandez, after being informed about the apprehension made by Abbas immediately called up the driver who informed him that he was apprehended and Abbas was on the process of impounding the vehicle at the Baguio Athletic Bowl compound and that he immediately proceeded to the area.
Upon arrival in the place, he averred that Abbas already confiscated the driver’s license of the driver and impounded the motor vehicle and subsequently issued a temporary operator’s permit to the driver.
Fernandez respectfully asked Abbas why was the driver apprehended when the vehicle was operated based on a valid francise and showed him the documents that was in the possession of the driver, however, Abbas alleged that the driver failed to show the said documents when he was apprehended but the driver insisted that he was carrying all the proper documents as he always does and that he showed the same to Abbas which the latter denied.
Abbas allegedly refused to give in to the appeal of Fernandez and instead instructed him to talk to the official in his office.
Fernandez confirmed the earlier claim of Bacoco that they went to the office of Abbas but they were able to eventually talk to him where he intimated that he will help them by lowering the violation to CPC not carried having a fine of P5,000 which they eventually paid.
Ironically, upon verification, the said apprehension was never submitted by Abbas to the adjudication office and the corresponding penalty was not actually paid despite having given the prescribed amount.
It can be recalled that Abbas, in a local radio interview, said that all accusations against him are unfounded.