On higher penalties: LTO-7 sends City Council request to central office
May B. Miasco/ATO (The Freeman) - October 21, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Land Transportation Office-7 has referred to its central officer the concern of Cebu City’s legislative body the request to suspend the implementation of the administrative order which provides stiffer penalties to traffic violators.

The City Council, after hearing the sentiments from transport groups, approved a resolution “to hold in abeyance” the enforcement of the Joint Administrative Order 2014-10 that laid down the increased fines for both traffic and franchise violators.

In his letter, LTO-7 Director Arnel Tancinco notified the council that the office will still endorse the request to the LTO-Central Office for appropriate action.

The City Council previously questioned the implementation of JAO 2014-10 since the order’s “validity and constitutionality” has been questioned with a pending case filed before the Supreme Court.

“Please be informed that this office is mandated by law to strictly and religiously implement all laws, rules and regulations,” read the one-page letter of Tancinco.

Unless, he continued, there would be a specific directive issued by LTO-Manila or by the Department of Transportation and Communication; or there is a restraining order and preliminary injunction issued by the court enjoining the regional office “not” to implement some of our rules.

The letter, dated September 21, was only publicized yesterday after it was presented on the weekly session of the legislative body.

Tancinco also pointed out that on a related development, the country’s highest court already delivered its verdict on the case.

“Relative to the issue, there is a pending case before the Supreme Court (that is) questioning the legality and the constitutionality of the Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01. We are respectfully informing the Office of the (City Council) that the Supreme Court already ruled on the issue,” the letter read.

Tancinco was referring to the case filed by the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association against DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya, LTO Assistant Secretary lawyer Alfonso Tan Jr., and lawyer Winston Gines, who is the chairman of Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board. LTO and LTFRB are both line agencies of DOTC.

“…the court already denied the claims of the petitioner for lack of basis,” the letter further read.

In Cebu, the DOTC-issued order gained unfavorable response from drivers and operators of public utility vehicles claiming that it is “unreasonable, oppressive, confiscatory and contrary to law.”

As stipulated under the order, the fine against operators of colorum buses are increased to P1 million; P200,000 against operators of colorum trucks and vans; P120,000 for colorum sedans and taxi cabs; P50,000 for colorum jeepneys; and P6,000 for motorcycles used to hire passengers for a fee.

Further, the administrative order covers other PUV-related violations such as refusal to convey passengers to their destination; overcharging; employing reckless, insolent, discourteous or arrogant drivers; operating PUVs with defective parts; using tampered taximeters; and trip cutting. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALFONSO TAN JR. ASSISTANT SECRETARY CEBU CITY CENTRAL OFFICE CITY COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR ARNEL TANCINCO ORDER SUPREME COURT TANCINCO
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