By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – Motorists who are apprehended for the wrong reasons lose time, miss appointments and incur additional costs.
Under Senate Bill No. 1976 or Fair Traffic Apprehension Act, erring traffic enforcers will be held accountable and prevented from abusing their authority in the future.
“Motorists experience tedious processes in contesting traffic apprehensions made against them, especially when the driver is under a no work, no pay policy. The bill seeks to provide compensation for drivers of motor vehicles who are wrongly apprehended for traffic violations,” read the explanatory note of the bill filed by Senator Raffy Tulfo.
The measure aims to promote transparency and accountability in the traffic enforcement system for the benefit of both motorists and the government.
The bill covers operatives of the Land Transportation Office, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and local government units.
“Any driver of motor vehicle apprehended by any traffic enforcement personnel may contest the traffic apprehension before the traffic adjudication board of the traffic enforcement authority to which the traffic enforcer belongs within 60 days from the date of apprehension or discovery of the same,” the bill states.
The driver is entitled to seek legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office and Integrated Bar of the Philippines; seek guidance and other form of assistance from advocate groups such as the Road Safety Advocates of the Philippines and other non-governmental organizations duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission; take photo or video to record or document the traffic apprehension and use the photo or video as evidence before the traffic adjudication board; bring not more than five persons during the hearing, including the witnesses and lawyer; record on video or live stream the proceedings; and receive compensation.
The apprehending traffic enforcement personnel has the burden of proof and shall prove before the traffic adjudication board that the driver was properly apprehended.
Compensation is three times the amount as may be computed.
If employed, the compensation is equivalent to the amount of daily wage multiplied by the number of times the driver took leaves of absence from work to contest the improper apprehension.
If unemployed, self-employed or with business, the compensation is equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage in the locality where the driver was apprehended, multiplied by the number of times the driver appeared before the traffic adjudication board to contest the improper apprehension.
Administrative cases may be filed against any traffic enforcement personnel who willfully or negligently caused the improper traffic apprehension and the concerned traffic enforcement authority shall, motu proprio, file the appropriate administrative case against the erring personnel under existing civil service laws rules and regulations. (Leonel Abasola/PNA)