(Metro News) NBI nabs 9 encoders during raids on illegal smoke emission centers in Caloocan

November 2, 2010 11:10 am 

MANILA, Nov. 1 –Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested nine encoders during a raid at a safe house of a syndicate engaged in the falsification of smoke emission testing results of motor vehicles as required under the Clean Air Act of 1999, the agency reported on Monday.

The arrested nine computer encoders, who regularly report to their safe house, are now detained at the NBI headquarters in Manila as charges for fraud and falsification of public documents are being readied against them. The names were withheld pending the filing of charges against them.

Armed with a search warrant from the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court, operatives of the newly-created NBI-Environment and Wildlife Protection Division swooped down on an apartment unit located at the corner of Asistio Street and 10th Avenue in Caloocan City late Friday afternoon.

Seized during the raid were 11 desk top computers and other gadgets used in their illegal operations that allow the non-appearance of motor vehicles in the issuance of certificate of environmental compliance (CEC), which is a requirement for the renewal of motor vehicle registration with the Land Transportation Office.

Under the Clean Air Act, all motor vehicles are required to undergo mandatory smoke emission testing before they are allowed to renew their registration with the LTO.

The NBI-EWPD, under Atty. Sixto Comia, has received reports that a number of Private Emission Testing Centers (PETC) are engaged in the unscrupulous business of allowing the non-appearance of motor vehicles for emission testing in exchange for grease money amounting to P1,000.

Emission test results are conducted in PETCs authorized by the LTO as a requirement for motor vehicle registration. However in this case, the said activity was done inside an apartment unit and not in a center itself.

The NBI raid stemmed from a complaint filed by the Private Emission Testing Centers Owners’ Association (PETCOA) about the existence of PETCs that allow the non-appearance of motor vehicles for testing.

Upon receipt of complaint, NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula immediately directed the EWPD to conduct immediate action against the illegal emission testing center operating in Caloocan City.

Data gathered by PETCOA showed that an illegal PETC is able to get some 400-500 transactions a day at P1,000 each, which means that these centers rake in around P11 million per month.(PNA) RMA/JES

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