Groups oppose city ordinance allowing traffic aide to confiscate driver’s license

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita March 28,2017 - 09:50 PM
Lawyer Froilan Quijano of the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association says the city ordinance would deprive the drivers of their livelihood once their driver’s license is confiscated.  CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

Lawyer Froilan Quijano of the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association says the city ordinance would deprive the drivers of their livelihood once their driver’s license is confiscated.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

SEVERAL groups expressed their opposition to a proposed ordinance in Cebu City that will authorize the confiscation of the driver’s license of motorists found to be violating traffic laws and regulations in the city.

In a public hearing yesterday afternoon, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 said that the proposed ordinance is in conflict with Republic Act 4136 or the Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines.

LTO-7 Acting Regional Director Alita Pulga pointed out that under Section 29 of RA 4136, only law enforcement and peace officers duly designated by the LTO commissioner can confiscate the driver’s license of those caught violating the law and local ordinances on traffic.

“Hence, persons not duly designated by the commissioner of the LTO or his duly authorized representative are not allowed to confiscate the driver’s license from violators of this act or any existing local traffic rules and regulations,” Pulga said.

Under the proposed ordinance, which was authored by Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr. and Margarita Osmeña, local traffic enforcers or deputized personnel can confiscate the licenses.

Section 2 of the proposed ordinance states that those caught violating traffic rules will be issued an Ordinance Violation Receipt (OVR) or citation ticket upon the confiscation of his license.

The OVR will then serve as their temporary driver’s license for five days from the issue date.

Lawyer Jose Glenn Capanas gave the same opinion, saying that RA 4136 only recognizes those duly deputized by the LTO as the ones who can confiscate a driver’s license.

“With due respect, there is nothing under Section 29 of RA 4136 which authorizes a local government unit to pass an ordinance authorizing the confiscation of a driver’s license,” he said.

While he said the intent of the ordinance to regulate traffic in the city and enact measure to promote public safety is good, the proposed ordinance violates RA 4136.

“Regulation of traffic does not include confiscation of driver’s license which is prohibitive in nature and is not anymore regulatory,” Capanas said.

He also pointed out that there is no actual data to support the contention that the confiscation of a driver’s license would deter traffic violations and accidents.

Instead of passing the ordinance, Capanas said the city can look into other traffic-related concerns including nonfunctional and nonoperational traffic lights. He said there should also be appropriate sanctions against enforcers who commit violations.

There are also so many “No Stopping” signs in the downtown area which prohibit the loading and unloading of passengers. And if there are designated stopping areas, he lamented that these are blocked by illegally parked vehicles.

The Pagkakaisa nga mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) Cebu also opposed the proposal.

According to Piston-Cebu President Greg Perez, the confiscation of driver’s license will be an added burden for them who only depend on public transportation as livelihood.

He also said this can be a source of abuse for some traffic enforcers in the city who might use it for corrupt acts like asking for money.

This was echoed by lawyer Froilan Quijano of the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association.

“Our main concern is that their license is the livelihood of our drivers. If it is confiscated, they lose their livelihood. It’s the means and tool for the driver to feed his family,” he said.

He also pointed out that the proposed ordinance is sweeping in that there is no delineation on the severity of the offense.

Although he said they support the intention of the ordinance, it still needs to be improved.

For example, he said the confiscation should only be done as the extreme penalty for traffic violations and not for each and every single violation.

Councilor Gabuya said he will take into consideration the comments of the different speakers and will incorporate their suggestions and comments before reintroducing their proposal to the City Council for final deliberation.

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TAGS: allowing, city, confiscate, drivers, groups, oppose, ordinance, traffic

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