The public, particularly motorists, their kin and local government units in Metro Manila, will be listening as from today when the Supreme Court resumes deliberation on the controversial No Contact Apprehension Policy.
The high court stopped the implementation of the NCAP temporarily on August 30, 2022, then conducted oral arguments last December 6, pending case resolution.
Two petitions are before the high court, questioning the alleged unconstitutionality of the policy for traffic violations in the metropolis.
The first petition was filed by the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon, Inc., Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization.
A second petition, filed by lawyer Juman B. Paa who also pleaded for the issuance of a TRO against the NCAP being implemented in the City of Manila, has since been consolidated with the first.
Paa said most NCAPs in the National Capital Region are also operated by a private firm through a profit-sharing agreement, stressing the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau has access to the database of the LTO relative to the details of the vehicle, including the name of the owner and address.
“If a private company is performing the function of the MTPB, their access to the close circuit television footage might be used for other purposes like surveillance of a particular person, thus exposing citizens to risks against safety and privacy,” Paa said.
Petitioners told the SC the implementation of NCAP is unconstitutional and thus invalid.
At the time the first petition was filed, the NCAP was being implemented in Metro Manila by the local governments of Quezon City, Manila, Valenzuela City, Muntinlupa City, and Parañaque City through their ordinances based on the 2016 resolution of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority which ordered the re-implementation of NCAP.
In their petition, the transport groups told the SC the local ordinances violated existing statutes, which do not establish, authorize and even mention any no-contact apprehension; the wordings of Republic Act 4136 or the LTO law is clear, and any that includes NCAP is void; the NCAP implementation violates due process; the NCAP provisions imposes unreasonable conditions that include non-renewal of the vehicle registration until such time the fines are settled; and the NCAP implementation makes innocent third persons liable for traffic violations.
They added the NCAP implementation violates due process and the policy’s provisions impose unreasonable conditions like the non-renewal of the vehicle registration “until such time that the fines are settled.”
According to Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, the failure of the petitioners in the cases to raise the issue on data privacy violation before the National Privacy Commission should be a ground to deny their petitions.
We join the interested public in watching and listening to this compelling court hearing, as any result will affect thousands who use the road arteries.