Saturday, 21st October 2017
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City number ‘anomaly’ bared

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By Ralph John Mijares

 

MR. GERALD Artates used his connections at the Roxas City Hall, to sell a tricycle city number, according to those who claimed he transacted with.


Artates allegedly dragged the names of Tricycle Franchising Regulatory Unit (TFRU) Head Mariano Layno; Councilor Jose Agdalipe; and Barangay San Jose Captain Jericho Celino, son of Mayor Angel Alan Celino.


The Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee of the Whole held a hearing on October 20 and 22 regarding the issue.


Present during the first hearing were Elias Jacobo and his driver Richard Villanueva; Armando Villarde; Angelita Lacorte; Marcelino dela Cruz, a repair shop owner, and his wife Maribel.


Jacobo, original owner of City Number 172, said that the ownership of his city number was revoked because according to Layno, he was unable to turn over his papers.


About to pass his documents to the TFRU, Jacobo got sick because of pneumonia, he said.


Jacobo sought help from City Administrator Gilbert Tan to get Mayor Angel Alan Celino’s signature for preventing the revokation of his city number but to no avail.


Dadivas cited from a document passed by the TFRU dated June 17 that city number 172 was among the expired city numbers because of "non-payment." Jacobo said that he was able to pay his renewal fee; prepare all his documents, but failed to turn these over.


In a press conference last October 22, Layno said that Jacobo was unable to pass his requirements before the deadline, and when the latter tried to follow up, it was too late.


Villarde and Lacorte said that they transacted with Artates for the sale of the city number 172 and had to pay thousands of pesos for it.


In the end, both Villarde and Lacorte claimed that Artates did not give them their city number.


The Masbate native, Dela Cruz, denied knowing any transactions made by Artates.


Vice Mayor Ronnie Dadivas said that contrary to documents given by Artates and what he charged his buyers, the expiry of a tricycle franchise is one year, not two years and fees would not exceed P 400.


This was confirmed by Layno, adding that transactions could not be done outside the TFRU office.


"Klaro gid nga may pagtonto, (There is something fishy going on)," Dadivas said.


Dela Cruz claimed to have been threatened by the younger Celino to admit that he received money.


The younger Celino denied that he threatened Dela Cruz but admitted that he came to the latter’s home and told him that he will file a case against him because he was dragging his name to the city number anomaly.


During the Sangguniang Panlungsod session last October 14, Dadivas exposed the illegal selling of city number 172.


In response, the older Celino, shared his letter about Dadivas’ privilege speech through the Facebook page of the Roxas City Press Bureau.


Celino said that Dadivas’ exposé is "merely based on speculation."


"In legal parlance, there is no such thing as a photocopied documentary evidence," he said.


City plate number 172 was issued in 2008 and cannot be effective this year, said Celino.


The mayor also disclosed Artates’ work background with the city government.


Artates is not a staffer of the younger Celino, the mayor said.


He served as a traffic aide before the older Celino’s first term but was terminated for allegedly committing a similar transaction, thus he was not rehired.


Celino said during the press conference that he was considering to ask the SP to investigate Dadivas because of his allegations against him, adding that Dadivas could be politicking.


This was denied by Dadivas, saying that he had been vocal about issues affecting the city in the past.


The press conference last October 22 happened the same time as the second committee hearing of the whole Sangguniang Panlungsod about the alleged city number anomaly.

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