11 LTO agents nabbed, charged in North Cot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/13 January) – Eleven agents of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) assigned in Kabacan, North Cotabato have been charged for conducting unauthorized traffic inspection in neighboring Matalam town.

North Cotabato Governor Lala Talinio-Mendoza today filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office  complaints of usurpation of authority and official functions against 11 deputized agents of the LTO assigned in Kabacan town after she caught them doing traffic inspection along the highway in Matalam without orders from higher authorities.

Charged and immediately placed under inquest proceedings were Yusoph Mamaluba, Ferdan Reformado, Eddie Waguia, Teng Mastura, Roy Pedtamanan, William Esmael, Abdullah Paunti, Alamada Israel, Salapon Mulod, Jordan Jainal, and Badrudin Ali.

The LTO agents are now in the detention cell of the Matalam municipal police office

Mendoza also included in the charge sheet the officer-in-charge of the LTO in Kabacan whom  she identified as Andie Batokapal.

Batokapal, however, was not detained because he was not present when the highway inspection took place.

Aside from violation of the Revised Penal Code, charges of illegal drug use were filed against two of the arrested LTO agents after they tested positive during the drug test.

Mendoza said the agents failed to present to her their deputation orders from the regional office of the LTO in Cotabato City.

Also, she said the agents violated what the Cotabato Provincial Government and the LTO district heads had agreed last November that highway inspection should be done near police outposts or Army detachments.

Mendoza caught the agents doing traffic check along Barangay Kilada in Matalam, several  kilometers away from a police outpost.

In November last year, the Cotabato provincial board investigated, in aid of legislation, the alleged ‘kotong’ of some deputized agents, mostly assigned at LTO Kabacan.   Mendoza said they were also already warned last year.   “Yet, they still continue to violate what was agreed upon,” she stressed.

Batokapal was surprised to know he was included in the charge sheet.

These agents bypassed me.  They just operated on their own. It was not me who ordered them to conduct highway check last Thursday,” said Batokapal.

He named Ali as the head of the group and alleged that LTO-12 regional director Arlan Mangelen issued the deputation orders.

Mangelen could not be reached for comment. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)