AUTHORITIES can push through with the implementation of higher fines and stiffer penalties against unauthorized public utility vehicles (PUVs) on Thursday because they have not been restrained by the Supreme Court (SC).
In its en banc session on Tuesday, the SC only ordered Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) to comment on the petition within 10 days.
The petition filed by Angat Tsuper Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator ng Pilipinas-Genuine Organization (Angat Tsuper/Stop & Go) assailed the constitutionality of Administrative Order 2014-01 or the Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations Governing Land Transportation.
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.
For instance, the fine for "colorum" or out-of-line buses for the first offense was increased from P6,000 to P1 million.
The fine for other first-time colorum offenders are: trucks – P200,000; jeepney – P50,000; vans – P200,000; sedans – P120,000; and motorcycles – P6,000.
"Lucidly, the increase was excessive, unreasonable and oppressive, and is offensive to the due process clause of the Constitution," the petition read.
Aside from these fines, the colorum vehicles will also be impounded for at least three months and the entire certificate of public convenience (CPC) to which the colorum vehicle belongs will be revoked, as well as their vehicle registrations.
The out-of-line units will also be blacklisted from being used as PUVs in the future.
The government said the goal of the administrative order is to improve road discipline for public safety. (Sunnex)