Three employees of the Land Transportation Office have been arrested following allegations that they are involved in a scheme that saw them steal and sell license plates.
The arrests took place last week and were announced during a press conference in which LTO boss and assistant secretary Vigor Mendoza II and other high-ranking officials also gave further details on what they call a “grand organized scheme.”
During the press briefing, Mendoza and Renante Militante, head of the LTO’s Intelligence and Investigation Division, explained that the investigation started last year when the agency received information about possible license plate thefts.
Following this, the LTO formally requested assistance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a step that then led to the arrests of the suspects at the plate manufacturing facility. He further added that any stolen plates would not be registered in the agency’s system and therefore be classed as duplicates and fake.
The stolen plates were apparently sold for between P5,000 and P10,000 apiece, and the suspects are said to be part of a bigger illegal scheme that involves new cars bought through financing.
The modus apparently works by having a leader or financier acquire a vehicle through financing and then illegally sell it using duplicate plates and a fake OR/CR. The unsuspecting buyer then ends up with a stolen car that has fake plates.
The suspects have been detained and are facing charges of qualified theft and robbery, with the LTO boss adding that administrative charges will be filed against the three on top of that. DILG secretary Benhur Abalos Jr., who was also present at the briefing, warned the public not to buy stolen plates and to check with the LTO if in doubt.