The No-Contact-Apprehension Policy is under fire again. Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers is seeking a Lower House inquiry regarding the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) latest program due to enormous fines (even for minor traffic violations) and lack of due process.
Numerous motorists have aired their grievances on social media, online news outlets, and lawmakers after receiving notices and costly penalties for traffic maneuvers that do not appear to violate traffic rules or regulations. Take the case of Cindie Cheng and her complaint regarding the NCAP implementation along the corner of E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue and Gilmore Avenue.
The NCAP violation charges can be contested with a notarized letter submitted to the local government unit (LGU) where the alleged violation was committed. But according to Barbers, if the MMDA (or the LGU) will be the only forum where a motorist is allowed to protest the charges, the agency (or the LGU) effectively becomes the “the accuser, judge, and executioner.”
“This NCAP system is laudable since the intent is to discipline erring, abusive or wayward drivers. But the implementors, I was told, are imposing excessive fines and could be violating the Constitution since there is no due process of law. Likewise, there is no law, ordinance, or regulation prohibiting vehicle registration due to non-payment of fines for traffic violations,” said Rep. Barbers.
According to Rep. Barbers, the NCAP becomes a burden to motorists and a source of corruption by the implementing bodies, which in this case are the MMDA and the LGUs.
There is also the issue of overlapping implementation where a driver can be penalized for the same offense twice by different LGUs.
In related news, the MMDA has welcomed the call by Rep. Barbers to initiate a legislative investigation on the implementation of the NCAP. The agency states that it will cooperate with other branches of the government and agencies to “ensure a more efficient and orderly implementation” of the NCAP.