Jack Enrile calls for protest vs P4-B LTO project

MANILA, Philippines – A month after the May 13 polls, defeated senatorial candidate Jack Enrile made good his threat to expose an allegedly questionable government project. 

In a video posted on YouTube on June 19, Enrile called on the public to oppose the P3.85-billion project of the Land Transporation Office (LTO) to require new plates for all vehicle – cars, motorcycles, tricycles – nationwide.

Another P8.2 billion will supposedly be allocated for the project's "support system." In all, the project will cost P12 billion, he said.

It's not reasonable to prioritize and spend money on the LTO project, he argued, considering a lot of Filipinos go hungry and cannot afford tuition. All Filipinos will suffer because government recoup that investment from citizens, he added.

The project is supposed to begin this month June or in July, but there have been delays in the bidding. (READ: P3.85-B license plates contract delayed anew)

The LTO boasted of the security features of the new car plates. It is expected to discourage car theft because the license plate can no longer be used if it is forcibly removed. 

"Mga kababayan, balak po ng LTO palitan ang mga plaka ng ating mga sasakyan pati mga motor at tricycle. Ang gastos nila P4 billion. P4 billion gastos kahit marami na po nagugutom. Kahit marami po walang pangtuition. Gastos na babawiin po nila sa taongbayan. Lahat po tayo masasagasaan," Enrile said in the black and white video titled "A promise kept."

Enrile vowed he will join the public in blocking the project. "Kaisa po ninyo ako. Pigilan po nating umandar ang proyektong ito (I am one with you. Let's keep this project from pushing through)," he said.

Enrile's statement was followed by a list enumerating what projects P4-billion can finance like education, health, and agricultural programs.

That money, says, the video, can buy 3.8 milion sacks of rice at the price of P1,350 per sack. It can also supposedly feed 2 million children in daycare centers.

"The government would rather spend P3.8 million to buy new license plates good only for five years," reads the text on the video. 

Enrile first spoke about his planned exposé when old murder allegations against him were revived during the campaign. 

"There are also reports that this demolition job is being done in order to derail my plan to look into and expose a government project that is highly questionable and grossly disadvantageous to the public," he said back then.

The LTO is headed by Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres, who is perceived to be among President Benigno Aquino III's favored officials, supposedly owing to her being a shooting buddy of the President.

She has been hounded by controversies since her appointment. Critics initially questioned her appointment as LTO chief when her record as LTO head in Central Luzon was supposedly marred by registering hot cars. In 2011, she was suspended for 60 days for leading the raid of the offices of Stradcom, a former LTO supplier. – Rappler.com