Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista has filed a criminal case against two people whom he accused of his dragging his name into the alleged corruption at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Charged before the Department of Justice were Manibela chairman Mar Valbuena and journalist Ira Panganiban.
Bautista earlier said that he would run after those who implicated him into the multi-million bribe in securing approval of LTFRB franchise, especially for modern jeepneys amid the government’s aggressive push for jeepney modernization.
“I cannot allow myself to be the subject of another’s desperate attempt to attain fame, especially when malicious, baseless, and untruthful statements are hurled against me, if only to put a blemish a blemish on my untarnished track record and reputation of excellence and integrity,” said Bautista.
The case filed was for violation of Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cyber Crime Prevention Act.
The case stemmed from the allegations raised by former executive assistant of suspended LTFRB chairperson Teofilo Guadiz of the alleged rampant corruption in the LTFRB that allegedly reaches the office of Bautista.
The allegations were made during a press conference called by Manibela on Oct. 9 in Quezon City.
The supposed whistleblower, Jeff Tumbado, recanted his statement through an affidavit filed before a Quezon City court wherein he also apologized to Guadiz and Bautista.
“After a careful reflection and deliberation, it is my honest desire to reiterate whatever allegations may have said during the press conference on October 9, 2023 where the public declaration was made were all unintentional and misguided,” the affidavit signed by Tumbado read.
“All of the things said were borne out of impulse, irrational thinking, misjudgment, poor decision-making and was encouraged by some individuals to make the statement which may have added to my confusion and affected my better judgment,” he added.
Guadiz, who denied the allegation but was suspended by President Marcos, was quoted saying on Monday, Oct. 16, that he had already forgiven Tumbado and will not pursue a case against him.
Bautista also denied the corruption allegation: “I was never a part of corruption and bribery schemes in the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).”
“For the record, I have never received any bribe of some sort, much less used any amount of money to maintain my position as Secretary of the DOTr,” he added.