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Ex-LTFRB aide cited in contempt for failing to back corruption claims

MANILA, Philippines — A House panel on Monday cited in contempt a former employee of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for failing to provide concrete evidence of corruption he said was rampant within the agency.

During the House appropriations committee’s probe on irregularities in the LTFRB, lawmakers cited former LTFRB official Jeffrey Tumbado in contempt after he could not explain his allegations of corruption against suspended LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz III and the agency as a whole.

Tumbado has been ordered detained for up to 10 days.

During the probe, the former LTFRB official said that his knowledge of corruption in LTFRB was limited to his “own opinion” and based on the reports of operators who were allegedly being forced to cough up large amounts of money to be given provisional authority to ply a route.

But consistent with his prior recantation, Tumbado said that he has no “direct knowledge” on whether Guadiz had any involvement in the alleged corrupt practices in LTFRB. 

Tumbado was the former head executive assistant of Guadiz.

Visibly frustrated by the former LTFRB officials' responses, Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip Partylist) moved to cite him in concept, which the committee approved.

Marcoleta said: “We don’t have time for you. You wasted our time.”

The lawmaker added that the committee “cannot rely” on Tumbado’s responses.

Tumbado on October 11 recanted his allegations of corruption against Guadiz, backpedaling on his previous accusation that his former superior and other officials were being paid P5 million in exchange for approving permits. 

In withdrawing his accusation, Tumbado said that his claims against Guadiz were “all unintentional and misguided” and “borne out of impulse, irrational thinking, misjudgment, poor decision making.”

But the former official also maintained that there are still problems in the agency that "require immediate investigation by authorities concerned."

Guardiz, who the Palace has suspended, has denied all accusations hurled against by his former employee, saying that the claim of corruption has affected his and his family's private life.