Higher fines deemed unconstitutional
According to the House of Representatives of the Philippines' Facebook Page (probably one of the most up-to-date sources regarding the lower house), Rep. Winston Castelo of the 2nd District of Quezon City called for Congress to investigate LTO Department Order 2008-39 (incorrectly referred to as 2998-39) that imposes higher fines on driving violations.
House Resolution 2394 calls on the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability to look into the LTO's order that was deemed unconstitutional by a local court, more specifically because the higher fines are acting as a means for improved revenue collection for government coffers.
"The public may not have noticed the frequency of department orders imposing higher penalties that contravene the intent of the Constitution," Castelo said.
The solon cited a five-page decision issued by the Baguio Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Antonio Esteves that ruled that the LTO Department Order 2008-39 implemented in March 2009 was unconstitutional.
The increase in fines and penalties are remarkably high. For instance, under the LTO Order 2008-39, the penalty for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol was pegged at P10,000 and P5,000. The fines are financially stiff when compared to the penalties prescribed by the 2003 Traffic Code, wherein violators face a PhP2500 fine and the revocation of their license.
According to Castelo, there are other indications that other government agencies could have been abusing their authority and police power by exacting similar penalties and standard fees as fund-raising projects to raise government funds.
What's your say on this issue?