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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

SC resets hearing on NCAP petitions

The Supreme Court (SC) has reset to an earlier date the oral arguments on petitions assailing the legality of the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) being enforced by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and certain local government units in the metropolis.

In an en banc resolution, the SC moved to Dec. 6, 2022 the oral arguments on the petitions initially scheduled on Jan. 24, 2023.

The decision was reached during last Tuesday’s regular en banc session of the justices.

The high court also set the preliminary conference of the case on November 4.

The en banc ordered that the MMDA be furnished copy of the petition and to answer it within 10 days from receipt.

Last August, the SC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the NCAP by the local government of Manila, Muntinlupa, Quezon City, Paranaque, and Valenzuela.

The SC later clarified that the injunction also covered the MMDA.

The TRO was based on the petitions filed by four transport groups—the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon Inc., the Pasang Masda, the Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators and the Altodap—asking the SC to declare the NCAP as unconstitutional.

The Land Transportation Office was also cited as a respondent in the petitions.

In seeking the High Court’s intervention, the transport groups argued that the NCAP was “unconstitutional” as it did not give due process to the motorists who allegedly committed traffic violations.

A similar petition was also filed before the SC by lawyer Juman Paa who said he was fined P20, 000 for alleged traffic violations based on Manila’s NCAP provided for under Ordinance No.8676 passed in 2020 by the Manila City Council.

The NCAP utilized CCTV and digital cameras to identify and apprehend traffic violators through videos and images of their purported violations.

Under the setup, the concerned local government unit issues traffic citation tickets and mail them directly to the vehicles’ registered owners.

Non-payment of the fines within seven days would mean that their vehicles would not be accommodated for renewal of registration.

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