LTO implements 'No Release' policy vs vehicles impounded in anti-colorum drive

Vehicles apprehended and impounded in anti-colorum operations will no longer be released even if the registered owners would pay the hefty fine of up to P1 million, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said in Tuesday, June 11.

LTO chief, Assistant Secretary Vigor D. Mendoza II said the “No Release” policy is part of the intensified campaign against colorum operations which have been the subject of complaints and requests for intervention by transport groups from President Marcos.

“Colorum operation is already a deeply rooted problem. We have to add more teeth in this campaign to teach those involved a hard lesson that the government is serious in this campaign,” said Mendoza. 

Transport groups have been complaining that they are losing 30 percent of their daily income due to the operation of colorum vehicles.  

A colorum is 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. 

While colorum vehicles are usually found in remote areas and the provinces, reports revealed that the number of colorum vehicles in Metro Manila and nearby areas have increased in the past.  

In a memorandum issued to LTO regional directors and heads of law enforcement service, Mendoza emphasized the need to file criminal cases in every successful anti-colorum operation.  

He warned LTO personnel of administrative liability if colorum-related cases are not immediately filed.

“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,” said Mendoza. 

Mendoza said the only legal way to release the impounded vehicle from the colorum operations is through a court order.

“The rule is simple: There is a regulation that governs the use of motor vehicles for public transportation. If this regulation is not followed, then it would be illegal to do so and it is tantamount to committing a crime,” said Mendoza.