Yesterday, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Region 9, headed by regional director, Atty. Alex Abaton, together with the Zamboanga PNP, have officially meted the riders involved in the illegal street race a penalty of 3-months driver’s license suspension.
3 months is the maximum allowable suspension under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines. It was signed into law in June 1964.
Upon hearing the news, a lot of netizens were in an uproar, saying that the LTO has become “soft” and should’ve revoked the licenses of the illegal street racers right away. They say the video that went viral is incriminating evidence enough for such a penalty.
“The confiscation and suspension of their licenses for 90 days is only a start,” said Atty. Abaton, and made it clear that a recommendation for revocation was already forwarded to LTO chief, Edgar Galvante. Unfortunately, the regional office does not have the authority to revoke the license, but it can recommend it.
Only the LTO chief can revoke
To better understand this rule, we must first go back to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines. Under Section 27 of the said law, “any deputy of the Commissioner may, for the same cause, suspend for a period not exceeding three months any driver's license issued under the provisions of this Act.”
Basically, regional directors, are bounded by law to impose up to 90 days suspension only. They can recommend to the LTO chief whether or not to revoke a traffic violator’s driving privileges.
The same goes for the case of the illegal street racers from Zamboanga. Due process was given, and while waiting for the final decision of the LTO chief, their licenses are currently suspended for 3 months.
“A driver’s license is a mere privilege and not a right. As a privilege, it may be forfeited once it is abused. This move of LTO IX is grounded on Road Safety. We are trying to get the word out that we are proactively making the streets safer for our road users. Let this incident be an example to always be disciplined on the road. Together we can make a difference and curb issues affecting Road Safety.”