Manila ignores national laws as they continue to confiscate DL of erring drivers

Last week, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memo reiterating the provisions of DILG-DOTC (now Department of Transportation or DOTr) Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2008.

Basically, the memo forbids Local Government Units (LGUs) from confiscating the driver’s licenses (DL) of erring drivers when they are apprehended for a traffic violation. While LGUs can issue Ordinance Violation Receipts (OVR), only the Land Transportation Office (LTO) – the government agency that issues driver’s licenses – has the authority to confiscate a DL of an erring motorist.

Over the weekend, Quezon City announced that they will heed the DILG’s memo and will immediately stop confiscating the driver’s licenses of traffic violators, the City of Manila, on the other hand, says that it has its own traffic regulations and will continue to confiscate the driver’s licenses of erring motorists.

In a September 23, 2022 interview with DZRH correspondent, Boy Gonzales, Manila mayor Honey Lacuna’s spokesperson, Atty. Princess Abante, says that based on Manila Ordinance 8092, the city is given authority to confiscate the driver’s license of an erring motorist.

Ordinance 8092 or the Ordinance amending the Traffic Code of Manila, was signed and approved by then-mayor Lito Atienza on March 2005.

Tama naman po yung memorandum ni Sec. Abalos na ang LTO ang may pangunahing kapangyarihan or authority na mag-confiscate ng mga driver's license [nung mga] traffic violators,” said Atty. Abante.

(Interior secretary Abalos’ memorandum was correct that the LTO is the primary agency that has the authority to confiscate the driver’s licenses of traffic violators.)

She further added that “But that authority came from Republic Act 4136 [which is the] Traffic Code of the Philippines. However, the local government code also empowers local government units like the City of Manila to regulate their own traffic. If meron ordinansa ang local government unit regarding their traffic code (If the LGU has its own ordinance) - which empowers them to confiscate a driver's license - may authority din ang LGU to confiscate (the LGU also has the authority to confiscate) [a driver's license].”

“So, it’s a different source of authority. The LTO has that authority to confiscate under RA 4136, but the City of Manila is empowered by local ordinance 8092,” says Atty. Abante.

As a motorist, does this statement from Mayor Honey Lacuna’s spokesperson make the issue clear or it made it even more confusing? Let us know in the comments section below.