2nd case vs no-contact apprehension policy filed with SC;  TRO also sought

Supreme Court

Another petition was filed with the Supreme Court (SC) against the alleged unconstitutionality of the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) being implemented by the City of Manila and four other cities in Metro Manila.

In a petition, lawyer Juman B. Paa asked the SC to issue temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop immediately NCAP's implementation in the City of Manila. He told the SC he was one of those fined for committing an alleged traffic violation.

The SC had acted on the first petition filed by four transport groups which challenged the constitutionality of NCAP.

Instead of acting immediately on the plea for a TRO, the SC required the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the five cities in Metro Manila, the City of Manila included, to comment within 10 days on the pleaded TRO and on the petition itself.

It is expected that Paa’s petition would be consolidated with the case filed by the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon, Inc. (KAPIT), Pangkalahatang Saggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide (Pasang-Masda), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP), and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO).

In his petition, Paa asked the SC to declare unconstitutional Manila City Ordinance No. 8676, series of 2020, on NCAP.

He said the Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Manila and Manila City Mayor Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan “should be subjected to temporary restraining order for passing the assailed ordinance with attendant grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction....”

He pointed out that NCAP is unconstitutional because it violates the right to privacy of persons because anyone can access the traffic violation records of people in the city’s website by merely typing the plate number of the vehicle.

He said the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) has access to the database of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) relative to the details of the vehicle, including the name of the owner and address.

At the same time, he said most NCAPs in the National Capital Region (NCR) are also operated by a private firm through a profit-sharing agreement.

Paa said that “if a private company is performing the function of the MTPB, their access to the close circuit television (CCTV) footage might be used for other purposes like surveillance of a particular person thus exposing citizens to risks against safety and privacy.”

Thus, he pointed out that there is a violation of the right to data privacy because the consent of the owners of the registered vehicles was not obtained before the operation of the website which contains sensitive personal information.

Aside from Manila, NCAP is being implemented in Quezon City, Valenzuela City, Muntinlupa City, and Parañaque City through their ordinances based on the 2016 resolution of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which ordered the re-implementation of NCAP.