While some choosy taxi drivers speed off leaving rejected commuters shaking their heads, this one had a run-in with a passenger who turned out to be a policeman. The driver ended up being detained in Quezon City.
Christopher Gonzales, 36, driver of Gaddi Taxi (UWL 690), was arrested by PO3 Marlon Tan around 4 a.m. Friday in front of the Quezon City Police District-Masambong Station, a police report said.
Tan, an investigator at the station, and his wife hailed the taxi to go to Novaliches, police said.
Upon learning of their destination, Gonzales supposedly refused to ferry the policeman who was in civilian clothes.
Tan then asked for Gonzales’ driver’s license, but the latter only produced an ordinance violation ticket stamped with a future date of Nov. 26, 2015, which prompted the arrest.
Driving without a valid license, especially with the forged violation ticket Gonzales held, is a criminal offense under Republic Act No. 4136. Traffic violators are usually given a citation ticket that would serve as a temporary license effective for approximately 60 days.
The police filed both complaints of refusal to convey and driving without license. Gonzales underwent inquest proceedings on Friday and remained detained as of press time.
Refusal to convey a passenger is not a criminal offense but a franchise violation regulated by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, LTFRB board member Ariel Inton said.
“It’s one of the most common complaints we receive and we expect it to increase during the Christmas season that’s why we have Oplan Isnabero every year,” Inton said.
Under Joint Administrative Order No. 2004-01, refusal to convey carries a penalty of P5,000 for the first offense. But only LTO and LTFRB enforcers can apprehend violators under the JAO.
“When a driver stops and inquires about your destination, he already negotiated. There is an intention to make a contract of carriage. If he refuses for whatever reason, the commuter could file a complaint,” Inton said.
“If the driver asked for a fixed-price contract, that is also a violation even if the passenger agreed,” he said.
Aggrieved passengers may call the LTFRB Hotlines (1342, 0917-5501342, 0998-5501342) to file a complaint and the LTFRB will set a hearing. Stronger evidences such as videos, snapshots and social media posts can increase the weight of evidence against a complained taxi.
If you do file a complaint, please pull it all the way and do not be attacked with fits of mercy. Willful violations of the law does not warrant any mercy and forgiveness.
(Photo from UNTV)