By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/11 Nov. 2011)- In a jampacked session, the fourth City Council last Tuesday, opened the pandora box full of fake franchises issued to tricycle owners that pinpointed to Jose Pura Jr., chief of the permit and licensing section of the Office of the City Mayor here, as the official responsible for the invalid transactions.
The atmosphere was tense and unforgiving as seen in the faces of the 230 victims who paid to middlemen in contact with the permit official as high as forty thousand pesos to secure a Motorized Tricycle Operators Permit without the corresponding city sidecar plate that identifies the granting of franchise.
Taking the complaint in the plenary, East District Councilor Victorino Daria III who exposed the anomalous transaction presented fifteen victims who delivered a coup de grace against Jose Pura Jr., Randy Reales a smart than you think tricycle driver and Jose “Toots” Desunia, president of Poblacion Tricycle Operators Drivers Association (PTODA) as the persons who allegedly connived with one another in processing the transactions. Desunia, taking the stand as if a harass lamb, received commission for every transaction he entered with Pura. At the session, also presented was Ruel Jintalan a subordinate of Pura who denied any participation in the issuance of MTOP’s.
After their testimonies, Randy Reales when queried by this writer, revealed that he received not less than two thousand pesos per transaction and admitted that Jintalan, aside from Pura, is one of those whom they transacted to facilitate issuance of MTOP. Jintalan on his part denied personally to Bicol Today.com that he did not receive any amount to secure an MTOP among the victims of the syndicate. Jose ‘Toots’ Desunia’s PTODA group was allocated 160 MTOPs and likewise admitted that he facilitated the issuance of the same through Jose Pura, Jr. and received a fat commission of not less than two thousand pesos per MTOP released by the permits and licensing section.
The illegal activity was brought in the open when Daria III in his privilege speech two sessions ago promising to present witnesses and that his allegation is not a mere hearsay cracks the wall of silence last Tuesday. Witness after witness points the paper trail to the desk of Pura that most were facilitated either by Reales and Desunia. The illegal transaction as estimated netted the operators close to two million pesos and the dealers earned more than two hundred thousand each.
The problem now is how to rectify the wrongs created by the swindling act of Jose Pura. When treated by the plenary, Councilor Pedro Ravanilla in a show of a real politico offered solution that they plan to open the franchise application giving priority to the victims of the franchise syndicate, which was nip in the bud by Councilor Daria, reminding his West District counterpart that he authored an ordinance during the third city council limiting the number of allowable franchise and it carries a moratorium of five years from date of approval before additional franchises can be allocated.
The MTOP issued by Pura and his cohorts are without authority from the city council thus considered null and void and illegal thereby classifying the units as colorums.Unverified information revealed that Pura is living way beyond his means.
The fate of Pura and the others who might be involved hinge this Friday, in a special session for the purpose. Pura’s request for an executive session to spare him and his family from further ridicule was opposed by Councilor Daria noting that the public has the right to know the extent of the influence of the permits and license syndicate at the city hall. (BicolToday.com)
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