LTO probes SUV posing as TNVS to scam passengers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is investigating a driver who allegedly posed as a Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) provider and scammed passengers.

According to reports received by the LTO, the driver of the SUV pretended to be a Grab car driver and overcharged his passengers.

Grab Philippines on Wednesday confirmed that the SUV is not registered with the ride-hailing company and has reached out to netizens involved.

"We would like to once again remind our passengers to always ensure that the plate number and vehicle details indicated on the app matches with the vehicle that they will ride," the ride-hailing company stressed.

Social media posts about the experience of passengers picked up at a mall in Quezon City recently went viral, prompting the LTO to respond.

The LTO Intelligence and Investigation Division has issued a show cause order against the owner of the vehicle, who was directed to appear and to submit a comment at its Quezon City office on Jan. 31.

The agency said the comment must contain why "the driver should not be administratively charged for Private Motor Vehicle Operating as For-Hire," and why his license "should not be suspended or revoked for being Improper Person to Operate a Motor Vehicle."

"Failure to appear and submit the written comment/explanation as required shall be construed by this office as a waiver of your right to be heard," the show cause order read. "And the case shall be decided based on the evidence at hand."

The LTO has also temporarily placed the SUV under alarm, preventing any transactions while the probe is ongoing.

"Hindi natin dapat makalimutan na ang driver's license ay ibinibigay sa mga kuwalipikadong indibidwal bilang pribilehiyo ng gobyerno kaya't hindi dapat inaabuso," LTO chief Jose Arturo Tugade said in a statement.

[Translation: We must not forget that having a driver's license is a privilege given to qualified individuals by the government. That is why it should not be abused.]

"Mas lalong hindi pupuwede na gamitin ang pribilehiyo na ito para manloko ng mga tao lalo ng mga pasahero na desperadong makauwi o makarating sa kanilang destinasyon," he added.

[Translation: More importantly, this privilege should not be used to scam people, especially passengers who desperately want to go home or reach their destination.]

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also expressed concern over the matter, particularly how it affects legitimate TNVS providers and the commuting public.

"There is always a right way in doing things, particularly when it comes to offering services to the public. For those who want to offer TNVS services and earn extra money, they should apply for a franchise," LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz said.