Vehicle dealerships and importers will soon face higher penalties for fraudulent vehicle registration following an amendment of an administrative order by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

In a statement on Friday, LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza said the amendment, approved by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista, would add more teeth to imposing sanctions against manufacturers, assemblers, importers, rebuilders, dealers, and other entities (MAIRDOEs) that are authorized to import motor vehicles and their components.

These higher penalties will be imposed against those who commit fraud and misrepresentation in the filing of the application and its operations, including stock and sales reporting; and the submission of fraudulent, fake, or falsified stock/sales periodic reports as required by law.

The first offense for both violations would merit the suspension of their Certificate of Accreditation (COA) for not more than six months, a fine of PHP500,000, and cancellation of their Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR), sales report, and registration of the involved vehicles.

For the second offense, violators will face cancellation of their COA, blacklisting for a year from the finality of the order of cancellation, and cancellation of their CSR, sales report, and vehicle registrations.

“The LTO reserves the right to institute criminal actions against the concerned person or entities who committed the above serious offenses,” Mendoza said.

Since both offenses are classified as “serious,” he said the penalty also includes a 90-day preventive suspension that will start upon receipt of a show cause order from the LTO.

In the same administrative order approved by Bautista, less serious offenses were identified as failure to comply with standard requirements and other laws relating to MAIRDOE business operations, and allowing the use of its accreditation by non-accredited persons or entities.

The penalty for a first offense is ₱100,000, a second offense is ₱500,000, and a third offense is ₱1 million.

A fourth offense will merit the cancellation of their COA and a blacklisting period of one year.

These stricter penalties, he said, would help compel MAIRDOEs to follow rules and regulations.

He cited the fraudulent transactions involving two Bugatti Chiron that served as an “eye-opener” to review existing policies and correct penalties that were found to be too low. (PNA)