The House of Representatives, particularly the Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability as well as the Committee on Transportation, held a joint preliminary hearing regarding supposed irregularities with the new contract for procuring new license plates.
The inquiry was prompted after a speech by Representative Aniceto Bertiz III that supposedly called out an anomaly with the bidding conducted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
In an earlier report, the LTO, through its parent agency the Department of Transportation (DOTr), is in the process of securing a new license plate supplier wherein the plates will be locally-manufactured under a joint venture by Trojan Computer Forms and JH Tonnjes East GmbH.
Of particular interest to the members of the joint inquiry was the 2% variance between the approved budget for contract and the winning bid, as well potential violations of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2017.
The approved budget was close to PhP 1 billion and was supposedly to be sourced from the DOTr's budget through some realignment according to various sources.
Representative Johnny Ty Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, the chair of the Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability, noted the irregularities pointed out by Bertiz with the procurement process. He said his committee would recommend remedial legislative measures to address them.
The fast tracking of plates (as well as license cards) was part of a promise of President Duterte after winning the 2016 general elections.
The Plate Standardization Program of the previous administration has encountered problems and has stalled the delivery of the plates after issues were found with the procurement process. Currently the plates are being held up by the Supreme Court over the problems besetting the program.