Vehicle inspections to be conducted by private centers should be temporarily suspended, Sen. Grace Poe said Wednesday, noting that senators are "unanimous" that the policy lacks legal basis.
Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said senators would recommend the suspension of the policy since there are "a lot of discrepancies" concerning its implementation.
"We can submit a committee report with a recommendation to suspend this...Really there's no basis for the DOTr (Department of Transportation) to delegate a power that's been delegated to them," she said in an interview with ANC.
Under the new rule, motorists need to have their vehicles checked by a government-accredited private motor vehicle inspection center or PMVIC so they could register these with the Land Transportation Office.
Previously, motor vehicle inspection was done by the LTO but their equipment had become obsolete.
Fees to be paid by motorists for the new system are also "highly debatable," Poe said given the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic.
The new motor vehicle inspection system requires motorists to pay over P1,000 for the process and should vehicles fail the inspection, another P900 is needed for reinspection.
The policy is "highly suspicious," Poe said as she explained that fees to be paid by motorists would only go to the pockets of private firms since the government is only asking for a P100,000 payment for accreditation.
"Lalong lalo na sa panahon ngayon, sa pandemyang ito ngayon pa nila tataasan yung ganyang singil na hindi naman babalik yung pera sa ating kababayan, mapupunta lang yan sa pribadong sektor," Poe said.
The senator flagged the lack of bidding for private firms as well as the removal of a provision in DOTr contracts that prohibits its officials and their families from participating in such processes.
"Initially, for any DOTr contract it says that any member of the DOTr and their families to a certain degree is not allowed to participate, suspiciously, in this private motor vehicle inspection center agreement, they towed that provision out and all they did was put that those in the accrediting committee may not participate," Poe said.
Earlier this month, the DOTr deferred the enforcement of the Child Car Seat Law for lack of a public information drive.
"What are they focusing on when we are supposed to be on the same page helping each other to alleviate the hardships of our countrymen especially at this time?" Poe said.
"I don't know if they're out of touch, incompetent, or simply they don't care," she said.