Press Releases

On the No Contact Apprehension Policy, Motorist Bill of Rights and Cap on Penalties for Minor Traffic ViolationsRep. Joey Sarte Salceda

August 14th, 2022

  1. Background. Republic Act No. 4136, or the Traffic Code, has not been amended since 1964.
    a. It has not anticipated tran
    b. sport network vehicle services who use private vehicles as a means of livelihood.
    c. It has not anticipated the widespread use of motorcycles as an alternative vehicle to public transport.
    d. It did not anticipate motorcycle lanes, bicycle lanes, and other multi-modal uses of roads.
    e. The law is designed primarily to govern the use of roads by private vehicles.
  2. As a result of the datedness of the law, it does not yet fully relate the right of fair access to roads with economic rights. In fact, it does not stipulate the rights of motorists who use the road.
  3. The law itself also does not provide for a means of disputing apprehension for traffic violations.
    a. The Land Transportation Office has a Traffic Adjudication Service and the MMDA has a Traffic Adjudication Division, but Local Government Units are not required to have counterpart Traffic Adjudication Boards for the hearing of complaints
    b. The law also does not specify an alternative means of settling penalties for lack of capacity to pay in cash. Such alternative mechanisms are common in Municipal Courts in the United States.

On no-contact policy

  1. The no-contact apprehension policy is now being implemented in the following NCR local government units: Manila, Parañaque, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, Marikina, and Quezon City.
  2. Typical fines
    a. Motorists will be fined P2,000 (first offense), P3,000 (second offense) and P4,000 (third offense) for the following violations: disobedience to traffic control signals and signs, obstruction of pedestrian lanes, driving on yellow box, over speeding, non-wearing of helmet for motorcycle riders, and disregard to lane markings.
    b. Meanwhile, a much heavier fine of P3,000 (first offense), P4,000 (second offense), and P5,000 (third offense) await violators who committed: counter-flowing reckless driving, and non-wearing of seatbelts.
  3. NCAP is being carried out by private companies through Public-Private Partnership schemes.
    a. The typical arrangement of revenue sharing is 70-30, in favor of the private operator.
    b. While PPPs are legal, the following questions are raised on PPPs on NCAP:
    i. Can law enforcement be the subject of a Public-Private Partnership? There appears to be no legal precedent for the exercise of the police power by a private enterprise on behalf of the State, and it would appear to contradict the established doctrine of the State’s monopoly of force.
    ii. Were stakeholders properly consulted? Stakeholder engagement and extensive consultation under a Consultation Plan is required under PPP Governing Board Resolution No. 2016-06-02
    iii. Data privacy. As NCAP is necessarily implemented through CCTVs, this must conform with the Data Privacy Act and other supplementary guidelines, such as NPC Advisory No. 2020-04 or the Guidelines on the Use of CCTVs, especially because private companies operate the CCTVs, and not the government under “lawful surveillance” clauses.
    iv. How can violations be disputed? Traffic Adjudication Boards are not legally required among LGUs, even though the due process clause of the constitution (Article III, Section 1) guarantees that there should be a means for due process even in traffic violations
    v. Are the fines and penalties consistent with the law? The Local Government Code (Section 130) stipulates that charges cannot be “unjust, excessive, oppressive, or confiscatory.” Furthermore, whether revenue-sharing in enforcing traffic laws is legal can be debated. The same section stipulates that revenues collected under the LGC, which “shall inure solely to the benefit of, and be subject to the disposition by, the local government unit levying the tax, fee, charge or other imposition”

Motorist bill or rights and other provisions

  1. HB 3423 proposes the following Bill of Rights
    a. The right to traffic regulation based on sound engineering principles and public consensus;
    b. The freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee that all traffic stops will be based on probable cause;
    c. The right to complete, clear, and reasonable definitions of traffic violations;
    d. Protection from discourteous and reckless drivers including those who deliberately impede traffic, who threaten other motorists with their actions, or who are impaired or incompetent;
    e. Freedom from unreasonable surcharges, fees, taxes, and fines;
    f. The right to access to all public streets, roads, and highways, free of arbitrary restrictions, exorbitant fees, or unreasonable governmental attempts to dictate personal mobility choices;
    g. Freedom from driver license suspensions or revocations for non-driving violations or matters of personal conduct unrelated to driving;
    h. Protection from arbitrary and exploitative insurance industry practices;
    i. The right to a fair and impartial trial for traffic offenses, including a trial by jury if requested by the defendant; and
    j. The freedom from arbitrarily determined and confiscatory fees, charges, and penalties for traffic violations.
  2. It also proposes the following provisions
    a. A list of duties of motorists to pedestrians, to ensure the safety of non-motorist users of roads;
    b. A cap on minor local traffic violations, which shall not exceed the minimum wage for the first count, and twice the minimum wage for every succeeding count;
    c. A requirement that all local government units designate an office for traffic adjudication;
    d. Motorists who drive vehicles for hire or used for a living, such as food delivery riders, may appeal for a reduction of penalties based on mitigating circumstances and capacity to pay; or may ask for an alternative form of payment, such as community service;
    e. Requirement that the setting of penalties for traffic offenses should be consulted with stakeholders;
    f. Review by the Secretary of Transportation of local traffic penalty schedules; and
    g. Annual report by the Secretary of Transportation to Congress on the status of appeals mechanisms established under this proposal.
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