MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, August 30, announced that it issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the No Contact Apprehension Policy in some Metro Manila cities.
In a briefer, the SC said it resolved the pending petitions during its en banc session: “Issue a temporary restraining order (TRO), effective immediately and until further orders from the Court, enjoining all respondents from the implementation of the No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP) programs and ordinances related thereto.”
The High Court added any apprehensions related to the NCAP are prohibited until further orders from the court.
The decision was in response to the petitions G.R. No. 261892 (Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon, Inc. [KAPIT], et al. v. City of Manila, et al.) and G.R. No. 262192 (Atty. Paa v. Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Manila and Mayor Lacuna- Pangan), which challenged the NCAP.
On August 3, the respondents from KAPIT filed the petition for certiorari with an application for a TRO before the SC, and named the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the local governments of Manila, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Parañaque City, and Muntinlupa City as respondents.
So far, the NCAP is enforced only in the five Metro Manila cities named as respondents.
In the second petition, lawyer Juman Paa asked the SC to declare the NCAP unconstitutional and stop its enforcement. The lawyer challenged the policy after he was fined P20,000 for alleged traffic violations under the NCAP.
The High Court issued the TRO after it issued an order on August 16 directing the respondents, including the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to comment on the petitions within a non-extendible period of 10 days.
Aside from issuing the TRO, the Supreme Court also set the oral arguments for the cause on January 24, 2023. It was not explained, however, why the High Court would have to wait five months to hear the parties’ oral arguments on the issue.
“I do not know the reason why the case was set for hearing in January next year. However, in the meantime the TRO will be in effect,” SC Public Information Office chief and spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said.
As another response to the petitions, the Supreme Court also issued a TRO “enjoining the Land Transportation Office and all parties acting on its behalf from giving out motorist information to all local government units, cities, and municipalities enforcing NCAP programs.”
This means that though the NCAP is still only implemented in the 5 local government units (LGUs) named respondents, the High Court has tasked the LTO to inform all LGUs of the TRO on the traffic policy.
In a statement, the Manila city government said it will follow the SC’s orders once its receives the TRO.
“Gayung naihain ang petisyon laban sa N-CAP sa Korte Suprema at inutos ang pansamantalang pagtigil sa implementasyon ng N-CAP, susundin po ng Lungsod ng Maynila ang Temporary Restraining Order sa oras na natanggap po ito (Since the petition against NCAP was filed before the Supreme Court and the temporary suspension of the NCAP implementation was ordered, the City of Manila will follow the TRO once we receive it).”
The Manila LGU also noted that it has an adjudication board, where motorists can contest their violations.
“Lagi pong bukas ang mga tanggapan ng Lungsod ng Maynila para sa tumanggap ng anomang reklamo at pati na rin sa N-CAP. Sa katunayan po, may adjudication board po ang naturang sistema kung saan maaaring i-kontest ng motorista ang Notice of Violation,” the LGU added.
(The City of Manila is always open to receive any complaints and complaints related to NCAP. In fact, the NCAP has an adjudication board, where motorists can contest their Notice of Violation.)
The local government units of Quezon City and Valenzuela also said they will comply with the Supreme Court order. The MMDA, meanwhile, will deploy additional officers in areas that used to implement NCAP.
“All areas with CCTVs of MMDA – EDSA, C5, Commonwealth, Quezon Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, at Macapagal Boulevard – the NCAP used to be enforced there. We will add the number of traffic enforcers there to manage the traffic,” MMDA spokesperson Cris Saruca said in a briefing on Wednesday, August 31. – with a report from Dwight de Leon/Rappler.com