DOTC to drop gambling probe on Torres once she retires—Abaya | Inquirer Business
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DOTC to drop gambling probe on Torres once she retires—Abaya

/ 09:21 PM October 09, 2013

LTO Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres (middle) Contributed photo

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation and Communications is likely to drop an internal investigation into the gambling activities of the Land Transportation Office’s top official, Virginia Torres, who announced on Tuesday her retirement by the end of the month.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya said on Wednesday the issue would be considered closed upon the retirement of Torres.

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“We are reviewing the provisions of the law. Under the civil service law, [the penalty] ranges from a reprimand up to termination of office,” Abaya told reporters.

“If that [merits] the most extreme, then it becomes moot,” he added.

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The gambling issue traces its roots to mid-August, when two clips surfaced on video-sharing website Youtube showing Torres playing a slot machine in an unidentified venue.

Abaya clarified on Wednesday that he had yet to receive Torres’ “formal” letter regarding her retirement.

Torres, said to be a shooting buddy of President Aquino, said she has served 33 years in government.

She said in television and radio interviews Monday that she was leaving office to put to rest issues at the LTO.

Abaya, meanwhile, said they were accepting “recommendations” for her successor. He said they did not have a shortlist of names at this time.

Abaya added they would like to find a qualified replacement at the shortest possible time.

“We could not afford a slowdown at the LTO. We need a replacement because much needs to be done,” he said in Filipino.

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Media have reported that an important project that has stalled is the distribution of license plates for motorists. Earlier scheduled for release last month, Abaya said this was deferred due to unresolved issues with the Department of Budget and Management.

The five-year contracts for the supply of motor vehicle license plates, amounting to around P 1.989-Billion, and the supply of motorcycle license plates, amounting to around P 1.196 billion, have been awarded to the joint venture of J. Knieriem B.V. Goes and Power Plates Development Concepts, Inc.

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TAGS: Department of Transportation and Communication, gambling, government investigation, government officials, Joseph Abaya, Land Transportation Office, Philippine government, Virginia Torres
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