“Recto Transportation Office?”
This was what some Facebook users commented after seeing a picture of two cars having the exact same license plate number.
The Freeman reported that private car owner Cecil Labang sought the assistance of Highway Patrol Group-Central Visayas (HPG-7) after she failed to renew her car registration at the Land Transportation Office.
Other reports said that her renewal application was rejected since there was another vehicle that appeared on LTO’s database which bore the exact same plate number.
Labang owns a Toyota Avanza with the plate number NEU 1976.
She and the car owner of the other vehicle, a businessman who refused to be identified, were invited to the office of HPG-7 following the incident.
The businessman also has a Toyota Avanza but of a different color.
According to Labang, she bought her vehicle from an auto trader on C. Padilla Street in Cebu City last year.
She was able to renew her registration back then, adding that the vehicle had complete documents such as the original certificate of registration and original official receipt.
The businessman also bought his vehicle from the same auto trader and said that he did not expect his plate number to have a duplicate.
However, he learned about the matter when his application for an RFID sticker for access to Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway had been denied before due to double entry of the plate number.
According to HPG-7 Chief Col. Neil Francia, the double plate incident is a modus operandi of criminal elements in Luzon.
He also said that it was possible one of the two cars was stolen in another place and was registered in LTO Dipolog City in Mindanao.
Francia said that they are set to file a case against the auto dealer who has victimized their clients.
LTO Region VII Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec also said they will assist HPG-7 in the investigation of the double plate incident.
“One thing is for sure, one vehicle is the holder of the legitimate plate number, while the other vehicle is holding the suspected duplicated plate number,” he said to SunStar Cebu.
Following the incident, some Pinoys called for the LTO to be “purged” of corrupt authorities since the office is the one responsible for issuing license plate numbers and other permits, as well as registering vehicles.
“Who issues the plate number? It’s LTO! They should be the [ones held] accountable for that twin plate number,” a Facebook user wrote in the comments.
“LTO, purge undesirables in your rank, that’s for sure, where money talks. Akala ko sa NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) lang meron HIT, pati pala LTO… marami pa ‘yan,” another online user wrote.
“Ang solution [diyan] is sa system [na gamit] ng LTO. Kapag may nakapasok [ng ganoong] plate number, dapat mag-alarm [sa] system at maayos agad ang problema,” a different Filipino said on Facebook.
Another Facebook user quipped that one of the license plates could be “made in RTO” or “Recto Transportation Office.”
A license plate number is the vehicle’s official identifier. It serves as proof that the vehicle has been duly registered before it is allowed to be used on roads.
License plates help authorities monitor vehicles on the road, especially in terms of their compliance with, or violation of, existing regulations governing traffic.
It also serves as an identifier in cases of theft or loss.
Meanwhile, Francia in another report advised those planning to buy second-hand vehicles to get in touch with authorities if they wanted to ensure the authenticity of the vehicle’s papers.