SC TRO vs no-contact apprehension policy 'unfortunate' - think tank

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2022 09:48 AM | Updated as of Aug 31 2022 10:11 AM

Transport group Laban TNVS stage a protest against the implementation of no-contact apprehension policy in Morayta St., Manila on Sept. 10, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Transport group Laban TNVS stage a protest against the implementation of no-contact apprehension policy in Morayta St., Manila on Sept. 10, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — A think tank on Wednesday lamented the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court on the implementation of no-contact apprehension policy following complaints from motorists.

For Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon, it's "quite surprising" that the petitioners only took exception to NCAP several years since it was implemented.

"I think this sends a very unfortunate message that we are listening to those that have violated traffic rules, those that obstructed pedestrian lanes," he told ANC's "Rundown."

As NCAP is temporarily suspended, Ridon said "unscrupulous traffic enforcers that had been fleecing motorists will return to the streets."

He also lamented that erring motorists would continue to violate traffic rules.

"It's a call to the Supreme Court at the very least while we are still undergoing proceedings in the court to reconsider on whether or not this TRO is essentially appropriate as we debate on the matter," Ridon said.

The high tribunal has set the case for oral arguments on Jan. 24, 2023, giving proponents and critics of the policy an opportunity to argue for or against the measure.

The TRO was issued in response to 2 pending petitions seeking to nullify the NCAP on due process concerns.

Transport groups have challenged ordinances issued by 5 cities in the capital region between 2016 and 2021, which they said would allow traffic enforcers to apprehend motorists without citing which specific provision of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code they allegedly violated.

Another petition was also filed against Manila’s NCAP by lawyer Juman Paa, who was fined P20,000 for alleged traffic violations.

Both petitions claimed NCAP prevented alleged traffic violators from contesting the violation and penalizes the registered vehicle owners, not the drivers of the vehicles.

The policy also allegedly shifts the burden to the registered owner to prove that there was no violation and creates a presumption of liability of the registered owner.

But Ridon stressed that the evidence and data were "clear" the policy was able to curb traffic violations.

Due process is also satisfied since traffic violators are sent a notice of violation, he added.

The NCAP was designed to catch traffic violations using security cameras. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units will send a notice of violation using information based on the vehicle’s registration. 

The program, which was first rolled out in 2016, is being carried out by LGUs of Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Parañaque City, and Muntinlupa City.

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