Back in April, we wrote a piece calling on the authorities to take a more serious look into fake driver’s licenses. These counterfeit licenses, you see, are so easy to obtain. You can have them made for about P500 a card, complete with real-looking elements of the real thing. A lot of public-utility vehicle drivers use these to put one over on corrupt traffic officers, but there are also private motorists who keep these in their wallets just in case.
In that article, we said that the main reason fake licenses were proliferating was that the penalty for doing so was “laughably light”: a P3,000 fine plus a one-year driving suspension, to be exact.
Well, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic today issued a statement declaring that on top of the above-mentioned penalty, a motorist caught using a fake license could actually be imprisoned for up to six months.
From the statement:
This came after the I-ACT team, during an operation in Quezon City, netted one Nissan Urvan classified as “for hire” and being driven by a certain Alexander Salvador.
Through the help of a deputized enforcer of the Land Transportation Office, I-ACT verified that the LTO database had no record of the driver’s license presented by Salvador. Further, LTO-National Capital Region Director Atty. Clarence Guinto issued certification that Salvador’s driver’s license is fake.
LTO-NCR filed a complaint against the driver for violating Section 31 of Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
“The LTO is firmer now in filing cases against motorists who are, purposely or not, using falsified and fake driver’s licenses,” Atty. Guinto is quoted by the press statement as saying.
But this is the important part of the announcement: Apparently, there exists Article 1 Section 56 of the Revised Penal Code, which says that using or attempting to use a fake driver’s license carries the penalty of imprisonment (up to but not more than six months), depending on the “discretion of the court.”
So there. If you have a fake license on your person right now, or if you’re tempted to get one, at least be aware of the full consequences of your deed. Don’t mess with the law is what we’re saying.