LTO: Colorum is a crime, Court Order required to release impounded vehicles

Colorum operators be warned, the LTO reiterates that this is a crime! Those apprehended and whose vehicles have been impounded may feel the full extent of the law as the Land Transportation Office has begun pressing charges against operators for engaging in this unlawful activity. The agency has likewise added that besides paying a fine, a Court Order is required to release impounded vehicles.

LTO continues crackdown on Colorum

Lto Anti Colorum No Release Policy Inline 01 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

Colorum is loosely defined as “a private vehicle that is acting like a public utility vehicle (PUV), usually for the purpose of earning money, without complying with legal requirements. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is in charge of the permits for motor vehicles that would be used as PUVs.”

That said, the NCR Branch of the Land Transportation Office has started filing criminal cases against the operators of these vehicles. This follows orders from agency Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza that called for an intensified campaign against vehicles that engage in this unscrupulous practice.

Lto Anti Colorum No Release Policy Inline 02 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

“Masyado nang matagal at malalim ang problema sa iligal na operasyon ng colorum vehicles sa ating bansa. Kailangan na nating magpatupad ng mas mabigat na kaparusahan tungkol dito upang maipakita sa mga taong patuloy na nilalabag ang batas na seryoso ang ating pamahalaan upang tapusin ang modus nila [This is a long standing problem in the country. We need to implement heavier penatlites to show everyone breaking the law that the government is serious in ending their modus],” said Mendoza.

Mendoza likewise stated that even after the payment of fines by the registered owner, impounded vehicles as a result of law enforcement operations will not be released, and that the only way that the impounded colorum vehicles would be released is through a court order.

“Simple lang po ito: May mga regulasyon patungkol sa operation ng public utility vehicles. Kung hindi po ito sinunod, maliwanag na iligal po ang operasyon nito and this is equivalent to committing a crime [It’s simple: there are regulations for PUVs. If not followed, the operation is clearly illegal and equivalent to a crime],” Mendoza added.

“Kaya may karampatang parusa at multa dito. At kasama sa parusa dito ay ang pagpapatupad natin ng [There is an accompanying penalty and fine. Included is the implementation of the] no release policy for all vehicles that would be impounded in anti-colorum operations,” he further explained.

Lto Anti Colorum No Release Policy Inline 03 Min

Photo: Land Transportation Office

In a memorandum issued to all Regional Directors, District Office heads and chiefs of LTO units, Mendoza explained that criminal cases must be immediately filed in every successful anti-colorum operation.

“This is the responsibility of the apprehending officers, heads of LES/RLES (Law Enforcement Service/Regional Law Enforcement Service), and heads of office. Failure to do so shall be subject to administrative liability. Pending the criminal case, the unit should not be released without a court order as the vehicle is part of the evidence of the crime. Releasing the vehicle is tantamount to Infidelity in the Custody of Evidence,” Mendoza explained.

According to transport groups, they lose up to 30% of their income because of these illegal vehicles that operate on a daily basis. With the LTO baring its teeth, perhaps we might see a great reduction of colorum vehicles transporting commuters illegally.

Of course this also (and again) brings the question of “where and what are the safer and legal alternatives that commuters have as options?”. That’s something to be talked about for another time.

Mikko Juangco
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