MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen employees of the Land Transportation Office were sacked yesterday after several piles of license plate sheets worth P4.5 million were stolen from the LTO’s central office in Quezon City during the Holy Week break.
The robbery at the agency’s plate plant division could be an inside job, LTO spokesman Jason Salvador said.
The theft was reported to police on Monday.
Salvador said the employees were relieved pending result of the investigation.
The LTO has created a special group to probe the robbery.
Salvador said they have asked the help of the Quezon City Police District and National Bureau of Investigation to look into the incident.
“We want to get to the bottom of this. We want to know what happened, who was involved,” he said.
Salvador allayed public fears of possible circulation of fake license plates following the theft.
Police said at least 10,000 sheeting materials used in the manufacture of license plates were stolen from the LTO compound in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City.
Investigation showed a detached iron plate bar could have been used by the suspects to gain entry into the plant.
Rogelio Buduan, head of the LTO plates plant division, told police this was not the first time that the plant was robbed.
LTO chief Robert Cabrera has appealed to the public to report any selling or trading of license plates.
Cabrera warned that anybody caught selling or buying the stolen sheets may face criminal charges for fencing.
The theft is the latest issue faced by the LTO, which has drawn flak over its P3.8-billion license plate standardization program.
Last February, some 600,000 license plates were abandoned at the Manila port after the private importer failed to pay duties and taxes amounting to P40 million.—Source: (The Philippine Star)