31 May 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against a barangay chairman in Caloocan City for his inaction on a businessman’s request for a Barangay Clearance for more than a year.
ARTA identified the barangay chairman as Jose C. Ramirez of Barangay 186, Zone 16 in Caloocan City.
According to the Authority’s endorsement of the complaint dated May 26, businessman Franklin Fernandez requested for a Barangay Clearance at the office of the said barangay on 17 January 2020 as one of the requirements to renew his Mayor’s Permit.
A certain “Gemma,” a staff of the barangay, told him that he should first secure a Barangay Business Clearance and pay P1,000 for the Barangay Business Tax.
Fernandez argued that his business is not under the taxing power of the barangay, but the barangay staff remained firm on the additional requirements.
The businessman also noted that there was no Citizen’s Charter indicating the additional requirements posted outside the barangay office.
On 18 January 2020, Fernandez wrote to Ramirez to clarify the matter but the chairman did not respond even after the deadline for the renewal of Mayor’s Permit on 20 January 2020.
After the complainant complied with the additional requirements, Gemma said that his Barangay Clearance will be released on 21 January 2020.
Fernandez personally went to the barangay office on the said day only to be given his Barangay Business Clearance, Barangay Business Plate, and Official Receipt—none of which he requested for.
Up to date, the businessman has yet to be issued the Barangay Clearance or even a response to his letter from the barangay chairman.
The Authority sent Ramirez a Notice to Explain and Order for Submission of Counter-Affidavit but have yet to receive a response from Ramirez.
ARTA recommended that Barangay 186 Chairman Jose C. Ramirez be held liable for violation of Section 21, paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e) of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018; Section 5 (a) of R.A. No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and Section 3, paragraphs (e) and (f) of R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Authority also recommended that Ramirez be preventively suspended pending the investigation of his case.
ARTA files complaint against LTO officials for delays in processing of requirements, implementation of cut-off scheme
1 June 2021 – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Monday, May 31, filed complaints against two Land Transportation Office (LTO) officials to the Office of the Ombudsman for ease of doing business violations.
Marvin Ken R. Du, the authorized representative of Du Ek Sam, Inc.; Des Marketing, Inc.; Des Strong Motors, Inc.; Desmark Corporation; and Premio Corporation, filed a complaint against Victor Emmanuel C. Caindec, regional director of the LTO Region VII.
Investigation showed that the complainant corporations applied for initial registration of motor vehicles and initial accreditation and renewal of accreditation of their branches in Region VII from 2019 to 2020.
According to the LTO Citizen Charter’s 2019 (3rd Edition), the initial registration of motor vehicles should only take one hour and 20 minutes while both initial registration of motor vehicles and renewal for accreditation should only take two hours and 40 minutes.
After printing the Certificates of Registration (CRs), the applicant should present the Official Receipts (ORs) to the releasing or supply officer for the release of their documents, which would only take 10 minutes.
Du Ek Sam, Inc. filed 15 vehicle motor registrations that were released in three batches.
The OR for the first batch, that were dated 22 January 2020, and the ORs, that were dated 3 February 2020, were only released on 3 March 2020. For the next batch, the ORs were dated 17 March 2020 while the CRs were dated 26 May 2020.
On the last batch of registrations, the ORs were dated 7 August 2020 while the CRs were dated 10 August 2020, but they were only released on 11 August 2020.
The same pattern was seen in hundreds of motor vehicle registrations filed by the complainant corporations from 2019 to 2020.
LTO Region VII has also not released the corporations’ Certificates of Accreditation even after they submitted complete requirements and paid the necessary fees despite the provision in its Citizen’s Charter that these should only take up to 12 days to process.
The corporations were also reportedly required by the government office to submit additional documents not included in its Citizen’s Charter.
The complainant filed a letter of complaint to ARTA on 23 June 2020.
A clarificatory hearing was set on 25 September 2020 but was rescheduled to 30 September 2020 after the LTO official filed a manifestation.
In his explanation, Caindec argued that all his actions were consistent with existing rules and regulations. He noted that they have released 19,868 records from the complainant corporations from January to September 2020.
The Authority received Caindec’s urgent motion to inhibit and terminate further proceedings and the complainant’s opposition with motion for immediate resolution. A final clarificatory hearing was set on 11 February 2021.
ARTA recommended that Caindec be held liable for violation of Section 21, paragraphs (a), (b), and 75 counts of paragraph (e) of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
The Authority also asked the Ombudsman for the LTO official’s preventive suspension pending the investigation of his case.
Also, ARTA recommended that the case be referred to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation for possible violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as any other laws, rules, and regulations.
Meanwhile, the Authority also charged LTO Taguig extension Chief Alfeo Tadena, Jr., who was found to be implementing a cut-off scheme in the said office.
Investigation showed that ARTA Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation Office Director Alice Fernandez went to LTO Taguig extension at around 4:30 p.m. on 18 February 2021 to personally renew and change ownership of her automobile.
However, she witnessed the said office implementing a cut-off scheme. Fernandez reported her experience to ARTA, that then sent a Notice to Explain to Tadena.
The LTO official categorically denied the violation. But in a letter on 1 March 2021, Benjamin V. Santiago III, the Regional Director of National Capital Region East, mentioned the steps they took to address their problems with their customer service.
ARTA recommended that Tadena be held accountable for violation of Section 21 (f) of R.A. No. 11032
FDA drug center releases hundreds of applications after ARTA’s show-cause order
2 June 2021 – An office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released hundreds of Automatic Renewal (AR) drug applications from when it received the Anti-Red Tape Authority’s show-cause order on 14 May 2021 until its May 31 deadline.
In her explanation as full compliance of the show-cause order, Jesusa Joyce N. Cirunay, Director IV of the FDA Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR), said they have processed 408 out of 412 AR applications.
The four remaining applications are pending because two were not submitted by the client while the other two were re-routed to other centers or units, Cirunay explained.
Data from the FDA CDRR showed that hundreds of the 408 applications were processed from 14 May 2021, when it received ARTA’s show-cause order and additional affidavits, to 31 May 2021, its final day to reply to the said order. Ambica International Corporation’s application, that was received by the drug center on 2 February 2017, was only approved on 28 May 2021—almost 1,576 days or four years, three months, and 26 days from its date of application.
The Authority is now evaluating FDA CDRR’s reply before recommending an appropriate action.
ARTA issued a show-cause order to the drug center on May 11 for its alleged inaction on hundreds of AR drug applications from different pharmaceutical companies. This stemmed from ARTA’s receipt of numerous affidavit complaints from various pharmaceutical companies on their pending drug applications before FDA CDRR.
Cirunay was given seven working days to explain why no administrative and criminal charges should be filed against her. She was granted a motion for extension until May 31 to fully comply with ARTA’s order.
The Authority is calling on the public to submit affidavit complaints if they have any pending applications with other government agencies.