LTO or Manila? City ordinance on driver’s license confiscation sows confusion

September 28, 2022 - 6:10 PM
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Cars in Manila
Member of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau on duty in this photo posted on its Facebook page on July 22, 2021. (Facebook/MTPBNoToKotong)

Confusion prevailed after the City of Manila said it will continue confiscating driver’s licenses after the Department of Interior and Local Government reiterated a policy that only certain entities are authorized to do so.

Lawyer Princess Abante, spokesperson of Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, said that they are following the Manila Traffic Code’s Ordinance No. 8092, which has the following provision:

“In case of violation of the Traffic Management Code, a duly deputized traffic enforcement officer shall confiscate the driver’s license and the issued receipt shall serve as Temporary Driver’s License for five (5) days from date of issuance.” 

“Ordinances Violation Receipt (OVR) issued by other local government units in Metropolitan Manila shall be honored or respected by the apprehending traffic enforcer.” 

According to Abante, local government units are empowered by the Local Government Code to “regulate their own traffic” as they see fit.

“At dito sa Lungsod ng Maynila, sa aming ordinansa, sa mga nahuhuli na lumalabag sa batas trapiko, ay pwedeng i-confiscate ng ating mga traffic enforcers ang kanilang mga lisensya para matubos nila as they pay their penalties,” Abante said in an interview on September 23.

When Abante was asked if her announcement could cause confusion due to the recent DILG memo, she responded that the authority of the Land Transportation Office and the City of Manila come from different sources.

“Magkaiba lang siya ng source ng authority, hindi naman siya magkasalungat. Kailangan lang ng proper coordination,” Abante said.

“At this moment, the City of Manila through our mayor Honey Lacuna will be sending a letter to [DILG] secretary [Benhur] Abalos to formally inform them that we do have our local ordinance and we will continue to implement it,” she added.

“Consistent din naman ‘yon sa gusto ng LTO na maging maayos din ang ating batas trapiko,” Abante further said.

The DILG previously reiterated a provision indicated in a 2008 joint memorandum circular (JMC) which said that “only the LTO and their deputized agents can confiscate driver’s licenses.”

It also directed local government units “to review their ordinances, orders and local policies, to ensure conformity and compliance with the said provision and with the entirety of the above-cited JMC.”

Other cities like Makati also have ordinances allowing them to reportedly confiscate someone’s license.

Meanwhile, despite Abante’s assurance that Manila’s policy would not confuse drivers, it still confused social media users.

“Who can be cited for insubordination here? The DILG or Manila LGU? Let’s hope they’d clarify/settle once and for all so we, the public, are not confused. (As if we’re not yet confused enough),” a Facebook user said.

“The LTO should resolve this or whatever government agency is concerned. If Manila can do it, there is no reason why other LGUs cannot. Ticketing should be centralized. It creates a great inconvenience for erring motorists who are willing to pay the fine but are not residents of the LGU or just passing thru that LGU or municipality. This should be addressed decisively,” another Pinoy wrote.

Others commented that the DILG and the LTO “should settle their differences [in] court [on] what is legal and what is not.”

“Don’t let the motorist be the victim of their pride,” a Facebook user said.

“If this kind of confusing piece of policy/ordinance [continues] to be a practice wherein national policy is being [superseded] by a local ordinance, then I urged the transport group to again file a complaint to the Supreme Court for resolution. Just like NCAP. The motorist will always be on the [losing] end if this [continues],” another Filipino wrote.

Apart from DILG’s memo, other existing policies include the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which notes that “law enforcement and peace officers duly designated by the Commissioner [of Land Transportation]” can confiscate driver’s licenses.

The Metro Manila Development Authority also said its enforcers have such authority under specific conditions.

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