TRANSPORT groups on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the government from slapping penalties of up to P1 million for "colorum" or unauthorized public utility vehicles (PUVs) plying the streets.

In a 17-page petition for certiorari, the Angat Tsuper Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator ng Pilipinas-Genuine Organization (Angat Tsuper/Stop & Go) said the government committed grave abuse of discretion for issuing the Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01, which will take effect on June 19.

The petition stated that the order was "vague" as it does not indicate who will be the one paying the penalty, whether the owner/operator or driver of the public utility vehicle.

It allegedly does not indicate as well how and when does complete, correct, and updated operators information shall be provided to the LTFRB.

Angat Tsuper/Stop & Go also slammed the order for violation of due process because the fines are a thousand-fold higher than the penalties under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of 1964.

"Lucidly, the increase was excessive, unreasonable and oppressive, and is offensive to the due process clause of the Constitution," the petition read.

The group added that the order is already a restraint of trade.

"If for one reason or another, due to inadvertence, a full-time PUJ driver or family driver (or with similar occupation) earning P500 a day failed to bring with him his driver's license or lost along the way without his knowledge, if caught, then his one week earnings would be taken at the expense of his family, lose his job and could no longer work," the petition stated.

The fine for first-time colorum offenders are: trucks – P200,000; jeepney – P50,000; vans – P200,000; sedans – P120,000; motorcycles – P6,000; and buses- P1 million.

Apart from these fines, the colorum vehicles will also be impounded for a minimum period of three months. The entire certificate of public convenience (CPC) to which the colorum vehicle belongs will be revoked, as well as their vehicle registrations.

They will also be blacklisted from being used as PUVs in the future.

Named respondents in the petition are Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, Land Transportation Office (LTO) Assistant Secretary Alfonso Tan Jr., and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Winston Ginez. (Sunnex)