Graft charges were filed against the officer-in-charge of the Department of Public Safety and Traffic Management (DPSTM) of Caloocan City before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing the fines paid by violators of the city’s traffic rules.
Hilario “Larry” Castro, officer-in-charge and executive assistant lll of DPSTM was accused by Romeo dela Cruz, a traffic enforcer, of using his position to collect and pocket money that is supposed to be paid directly to the city treasurer’s office.
Dela Cruz, in his sworn affidavit said that sometime on February 20, 2015, Castro issued a memorandum stating that all apprehensions made against erring drivers shall be submitted to the DPSTM office within 24 hours instead of turning this over to the redemption center.
He said the memorandum also spares the erring drivers from paying corresponding fines and other penalties since their licenses and impounded vehicles were immediately released when somebody showed up and interceded in the apprehensions.
He added that on many occasions, Castro waived the fines and penalties without valid grounds and even presented copies of handwritten notes allegedly made by his superior ordering him to release the confiscated licenses.
The complainant said Castro also cursed and humiliated him in public by shouting invectives while accusing him of being a protector of delivery trucks and public utility vehicles passing along Sangandaan Road.
To prove him wrong, Dela Cruz said he continued to apprehend and issue Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) to erring drivers including those who presented Castro’s calling card which they used as ticket for their continued violations.
He also accused Castro of ordering to retrieve the service motorcycle issued to him by the city government without prior notice while the motorcycle was parked at the barangay hall in Bagong Barrio when he figured in an accident while performing his duty.
Dela Cruz said Castro also violated the provision of the resolution of the Civil Service Commission on omnibus rules on appointment by acting as chief of the DPSTM South.
He said Castro was temporarily appointed chief of DPSTM South sometime in 2013 but it was not made permanent due to lack of eligibility. He was appointed instead as Executive Assistant III in the non-career service but continued to hold on to his position which is against the civil service law, rules and regulations.
Castro in his counter affidavit, vehemently denied the allegations and said the complaint was Dela Cruz’s retaliation because he transferred him to Administrative Section due to his weak enforcement of traffic rules.
He said he ordered the retrieval of the motorcycle which was recklessly abandoned and damaged by Dela Cruz in the streets of Barangay 151 for more than five days after figuring in an accident.
Castro admitted he scolded Dela Cruz in some incidents but he never cursed him.
He defended issuing a memorandum which orders the surrender of OVR booklets and apprehensions made against erring drivers to DPSTM instead of the redemption center for the purpose of recording, encoding and monitoring.
Dela Cruz instead requested the Office of the Ombudsman to order the Commission on Audit (COA) to audit all the fines and penalties on OVR that were waived since Castro assumed his position in 2013 to determine the huge amount he has deprived from the city’s coffer.