After the issue regarding the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) saw the Supreme Court step in and (partially) calm things down, another argument on the subject of traffic management is brewing.

Last week, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) released a memorandum that reiterates the authority to confiscate driver's licenses are only given to the enforcers of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and its deputies. However, the City of Manila is making an interesting case on the matter.

DILG says LGUs can't get your license, but Manila says yes we can image

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna's spokesperson insists Manila traffic enforcers will continue to confiscate driver's licenses of erring motorists. According to Atty. Princess Abante, they are following their local traffic ordinance. Specifically, Ordinance No. 8092 of the Manila Traffic Code which says “a duly deputized traffic enforcement officer shall confiscate the driver's license and the issued receipt shall serve as Temporary Driver's License for five (5) days from date of issuance”.

DILG says LGUs can't get your license, but Manila says yes we can image

Article XXII - Procedures and Penalties under Manila Traffic Code

So why are they insisting on this? Well, the spokesperson says under the Local Government Code of the Philippines, local government units (LGUs) are empowered to regulate their own traffic as they see fit. And under their ordinances and interpretation, they can confiscate licenses despite the LTO being the only designated agency that may do so under Republic Act 4136.

If we recall, the DILGs memorandum is also directing LGUs to review their ordinances to comply with the DILG-DOTC Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC). If we get our English language right, the DILG basically wants LGUs to check their local traffic codes and align them to the aforementioned JMC.

The way it is playing out is that the City of Manila is empowered by a Republic Act (LGU Code) to craft its own traffic rules including license confiscation, but under Republic Act 4136 only the LTO and deputies may confiscate licenses. Which one should be followed? Do we need the Supreme Court to step in again?

Let us know what you think in the comments.