- House Speaker issued memo ordering return of ex-congressmen’s “8” plates
- Solons directed to immediately turn over their “8” plates back
- Memo stemmed after cars purportedly belonging to congressmen found in cybersex den raid
MANILA, Philippines – No more “8” plates— at least for former congressmen.
Widely regarded as a symbol of preferential treatment, the protocol plate has been recalled by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez following an NBI operation in which vehicles purportedly belonging to some congressmen were discovered.
In the memorandum dated August 24 under Secretary General Cesar Pareja’s name, every representative of the lower House belonging to the 16th Congress and earlier are ordered to return their Protocol Plate No. 8 immediately.
“We have received reports that certain vehicles with Protocol Plate No. 8” have been spotted in indecent places or figured in crime-related activities. In view of this development, the Honorable Speaker has given instructions for the immediate recall of all protocol plates issued during the 16th Congress and earlier. Kindly turn in these plates to the Office of the Secretary General for proper acknowledgment,” read the memo.
Alvarez issued the order after vehicles with “8” plates were discovered by NBI operatives following their raid on a cybersex den in Pasay City a week earlier.
Discovered bearing the protocol plates were a Jaguar, a Ford Expedition, a Hyundai Starex, and a Toyota Avanza.
Danielito Lalucis of the NBI’s anti-cybercrime division said the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) was ascertaining whether the vehicles did indeed belong to congressmen.
For his part, Navotas Rep Toby Tiangco— author of a bill that seeks to criminalize the use of protocol plates— said Alvarez should have extended the recall order to current members of Congress as well.
“Dapat pati 17th Congress. Hindi naman namin kailangan ng 8 na plaka para magserbisyo sa ating mga kababayan,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.
[It should extend to the 17th Congress. We don’t need “8” plates to render service to our countrymen.]