MANILA - Senator Grace Poe on Friday called on authorities to investigate the inspection process of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for vehicle registration and franchising in light of the Occidental Mindoro bus mishap that left 19 dead.
Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, said she has received reports of bribery in the agency in exchange for approval of the registration or franchise of a vehicle.
"Information that reached us said that in paper, motor vehicles undergo and pass the test, but the reality is a number of them were never tested," Poe said in a statement.
"As disclosed by some concerned citizens, some LTO employees allegedly receive bribe during the stage of vehicle inspection in exchange for approval even without the physical inspection of vehicles."
Poe added that bus franchises which have "notorious accident records" should undergo stricter tests.
The senator has proposed a bill that would create an independent agency to investigate transportation-related accidents.
A Dimple Star bus fell into a ravine in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on Tuesday night, leaving 19 people dead and 21 others wounded.
Initial investigation showed that the driver lost control of the brakes while traversing the national highway.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has suspended for 30 days operations of 118 buses of Dimple Star.
Prior to this, the LTFRB suspended 10 Dimple Star buses plying the San Jose, Occidental Mindoro-Manila route, the same route as the ill-fated bus.
Last year, several deadly bus accidents were recorded, including incidents in Tanay, Rizal and Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.