What happens when you deal with fixers?
Fixers have been staples outside of any Land Transportation Office (LTO) site.
In exchange for money, these fixers will promise to save you time and hassle by providing “shortcuts” through the many processes of the LTO. Imagine: instead of spending your whole day queuing at a certain LTO district or extension office (therefore missing an important day at work), these fixers will do all the legwork for you and on many occasions will offer “non-appearance” to get your driver’s license, vehicle registration or any other transaction that needs to be done with the LTO.
With the advent of technology, these fixers are even turning to social media to lure possible clients into availing their services. Whether on the street level or online, using fixers is risky because their services do not guarantee legitimacy and there is a high likelihood you could end up with fake documents. On the other hand, you might be equally liable under existing laws by simply patronizing their (fixers) services.
So, what happens when you avail the services of fixers and you get apprehended by law enforcers? According to LTO, it can be quite a headache.
1. You paid for a license but got a fake
Let’s say you availed the services of a fixer and got your driver’s license. Not only did you pay a hefty sum in exchange for a shortcut in the process, but you may have received a fake driver’s license from that fixer.
If you got apprehended, then you're driving without a valid driver's license. The penalty for that is PHP 3,000.00 and the driver will be disqualified from being granted the privilege of driving a motor vehicle for 1 year from the payment of penalty.
If the driver holding a fake license cannot get someone with a valid driver’s license to drive his vehicle home, the authorities will have no choice but to call a tow truck and tow the vehicle to the nearest impounding facility so as not to impede the flow of traffic. Fines for a towed vehicle vary depending on what LGU or agency apprehended you, but it typically starts from PHP 1,500 plus storage fees multiplied by the number of days your vehicle is in the impounding area.
We don't really need to say that an impound lot isn't like a commercial parking lot with security and the like. There’s a very high chance of your vehicle getting damaged or certain components getting pilfered like alloy wheels, audio system, side mirrors, battery, spare wheel, starter, and engine parts.
What if in all honesty, you didn’t know that you have a fake driver’s license from a fixer and you submitted it to the LTO for renewal, will you be penalized? The answer is yes (of course), you will still be penalized by the LTO. Submitting fake or false documents in relation to the application or renewal of a driver’s license has a corresponding penalty of PHP 3,000.00. On top of that, the driver will be barred from being granted the privilege to drive/operate a motor vehicle for a period of 1 year from payment of the penalty.
2. You paid for registration but got talahib
Since you used the services of a fixer to get your driver’s license, you might as well get their services for the renewal of your motor vehicle registration, right? If you did and you got caught by a law enforcer or were involved in a road mishap and your vehicle’s registration turned out to be fake, there are heavy penalties involved.
Since technically, your vehicle is not registered on LTO’s system or talahib by having a fake registration from a fixer, a PHP 10,000.00 penalty awaits you. Additionally, your vehicle may (or will) be impounded and will be released only after the fines are paid and the vehicle is properly registered with the LTO.
Since there is fraud involved by having a fake vehicle registration from a fixer, there is an additional PHP 3,000.00 penalty plus impound and the vehicle is barred from registration for 1 year upon payment of penalty. If the LTO officer is not in the mood for some nice conversation, he or she may impose an additional PHP 2,000.00 penalty for “Other violation in connection with motor vehicle registration/renewal/operation.
3. Pay and block
Online payment channels like GCash, Maya, and other online banking apps made it a lot easier and more convenient to do business online. As such, fixers offering their services in the LTO have also utilized these channels for transacting with their clients.
Unfortunately the likelihood of falling victim to “GCash and block” modus is very high if you avail of the services of a fixer.
The modus is pretty straightforward: the fixer who promised legitimate LTO service will block you on social media, Viber, or similar apps after receiving the money digitally on GCash, Maya, or from other online payment channels. That’s an instant goodbye to your hard-earned money. Try getting a refund for that.
Fixers and the services they offer in the LTO are like open secrets. Everybody knows about them but no one really wants to talk about the subject. The LTO has launched multiple campaigns against them and their cohorts but here we are in the digital world and there are still plenty of fixers.
Actually, there may even be more.