Norms of Fixing (2)

Norms of Fixing (2)

Volume VII NO. 11 (December 28 to January 3 , 2013)

In terms of physical count of franchise applications, fixing in the DOTC-CAR by outside fixers comes only next to fixing by the personnel themselves. The explanation is that while transaction by walk-in applicants are already the exclusive domain of the franchising employees, those that pass through the outside fixers are necessarily coursed also through the personnel without whose interventions, these applications solicited by outside fixers will not reach first base, so to speak.

Not so in terms of the quantified costs or value of the franchise issued as applied for by outside fixers, however, where the latter probably have the edge and the better chance to earn big compared to the franchising personnel. This is easier understood if what we talk about are taxi franchises and other PUV franchises secured by the fixers in violations of the moratorium which price in the market amounts to hundreds of thousands pesos.

These earnings can be measured even alone in the unhidden fact that these fixers not only are able to buy semi-brand-new cars but also are able to own houses, in so short a time. This only shows how lucrative business is fixing in the DOTC-CAR. A lot better in fact than the plight of an ordinary employee or wage earner who do not fix.

This should not surprise the public observer because fixers, by their admirable persistence and grit are able to duplicate what lawyers can do, if not better. In fact, they can collect better than the conscionable lawyers.

It is unfortunate that they are not even aware or if they are, they do not mind that what they do constitute illegal practice of law. The truth is that their acts of preparing CPC applications and other pleadings, the filing of the same with the Board or DOTC-CAR, the submission of Formal Offer and the Affidavit thereof, attending the hearing for the applicants, securing the release of decisions, among others, are activities constituting practice of law which are reserve for lawyers in the legal profession. They are not jobs for the fixers.

Ironically, they have come to regard fixing as a legit job tailored fit for them, hence, they continue to do so with the tacit approval and blessing of the franchising personnel, to the prejudice and damage of the legitimate practicing lawyers in the DOC-CAR whose clients are fast dwindling in number.

On the other hand, sad to say, there are also lawyers who by the fashion they practice law in the franchising Board could also be called fixers, by association.

Rightly or wrongly, lawyers practicing in the Franchising Board who are prone to influencing its personnel in accepting CPC applications and securing favorable resolution of their cases beyond what the law and the rules allow, just like what fixers do, are themselves fixing; lawyers who are capable of tampering documents and misrepresenting the requirements to secure favorable decision or grant of franchises, just like what fixers do, are themselves fixers; lawyers on the habit of giving dole-outs by arrangement in the guise of expressing gratitude, just like what fixers “professionally” do, are no better than these fixers themselves.

In the past, we can strike some parallels in what fixers and lawyers can both do and, surprisingly, one can be at a loss distinguishing one from the other. In the legalization cases of 1998 and 1999 for instance, there were lawyers who, side by side with fixers, were able to secure for themselves franchises for taxi units which they could not have secured were the same were products of legitimate lawyering. This is also true in the legalization cases of 2001 where lawyers, side by side with fixers again, were able to secure taxi franchises by way of dummies, in the same manner as what the fixers did.
And all this time, it seems nothing was done at all by Regional Directors then and now to restrain fixing in the franchising Board. You will probably ask me now — what qualifications should the next Regional Director should have if we were to stop once and for all fixing activities in the DOTC-CAR?

Probably, I have no idea better than you do, so what do you think?
(July 22-28, 2006)


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