Treñas threatens to arrest LTO enforcers

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas threatened to have arrested Land Transportation Office traffic enforcers who continue to prod drivers of jeepneys in the metropolis not to follow City Hall’s traffic ordinance.

 

Treñas said he will order the Iloilo City Police Office to arrest LTO personnel who question the City Hall’s power to regulate vehicular traffic.

 

The mayor said some LTO personnel convince drivers not to follow Iloilo City’s traffic ordinance.

 

Treñas said the LTO’s continued crackdown on erring drivers and convincing them not to follow city traffic rules is an act of bad faith because the League of Cities in the Philippines is still negotiating with the LTO central office regarding traffic rules and enforcement.

 

Treñas said he will ask for the relief of police officers who will not obey his order to arrest LTO personnel.

 

The conflict between the City Hall and LTO erupted after the latter office said it is the only agency that can confiscate driver’s licenses and registration plates of vehicles.

 

The LTO regional office also rejected traffic laws enacted by the City Council.

 

Councilor Erwin Plagata, committee on transportation chair and Traffic Technical Working Group (TTWG) head, slammed the LTO for not recognizing the City government’s power to regulate traffic as mandated by the Local Government Code.

 

Drivers are caught in middle of the City Hall-LTO tiff as they incur double penalties aside from confiscation of their permits and registration plates.

 

Treñas was miffed by LTO’s action saying he will not back down from the said agency.

 

“Unless the traffic problem is sufficiently resolved by the courts, I will not buckle and I have to show my fangs. Kon gamuhon nila kag gusto nila ang inaway, ti away ta eh (If they will cause chaos and fight us, then we will fight),” a fuming Treñas said.      

 

The Court of Appeals (CA) recently denied a petition for certiorari filed by LTO questioning the order of a Quezon City Regional Trial Court which ordered LTO to stop enforcing Memorandum Circular (MC) 33, Special Order 101-A, Special Order 101-1RM and MC 89-105.

 

The four LTO issuances are relative to the confiscation and removal of license plates. 

 

The CA said the LTO memorandum circular is “invalid for going beyond the terms and provisions of the law.

 

“The power cannot be extended to amending or expanding the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute and rules that subvert the statute cannot be sanctioned,” the CA said.  

 

Plagata said the LTO has no authority to confiscate the license plates of vehicles of traffic violators since Republic Act 136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code) does not empower the agency to do so.

 

He said the LTO issuances advising vehicle drivers to follow the order set by its central office “could not be over and above the law on traffic of the city government.”

 

DIPLOMACY

 

Treñas said there is nothing personal in his “word war” with the LTO as he continues to use diplomatic approaches to solve the conflict.

 

The mayor said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on traffic policies between the city government and the LTO is being finalized to ease out the disagreement.

 

Treñas said he talked with LTO chief Arturo Lomibao over the powers of the city government in implementing traffic rules and regulations as mandated by the Local Government Code and a joint memorandum of the LTO and Department of Transportation and Communications.

 

“The MOA could be signed either here or in Manila. We hope this will settle the issue once and for all,” he added. (With reports from Lydia C. Pendon)

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