Mayor Jerry Treñas said Iloilo City will resume enforcing its local ordinance authorizing traffic aides to confiscate driver’s licenses if the Land Transportation Office (LTO) fails to heed the call to deputize them.

In a press conference, Treñas said he will write a letter asking the LTO to deputize the city’s traffic aides who are employed under the Transportation Management and Traffic Regulation Office (TMTRO).

“We will comply with the directive of Secretary (Benjamin) Abalos but if LTO will not deputize out traffic aides then we have no choice but to continue with the implementation of the ordinance,” he told reporters.

In 2017, lawyer Dan Cartagena challenged the validity of Regulation Ordinance No. 338, but the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26 resolved that TMTRO has the power to confiscate driver’s licenses of erring drivers.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier issued a memorandum address to local chief executives and concerned government agencies emphasizing that only LTO personnel have the authority to confiscate driver’s licenses.

Treñas said the city government, for the meantime, will comply with the directive.

“We are trying to be compliant to the directives (of the DILG) without saying nga unconstitutional ang aton ordinansa because that was never declared by the court to be unconstitutional,” the mayor stressed.

Initially, according to Treñas, he was informed that LTO will not deputize the traffic aides because they are job hires.

“Ti kon amo na, we will be forced to implement the ordinance. You know let’s us talk about local autonomy,” he said.

“That is part of local autonomy. If the Supreme Court will finally rule that the ordinance is unconstitutional then we will not implement,” he added.

Treñas noted that the LTO law was approved in 1964 while the Local Government Code under which the ordinance creating the traffic aides was enacted in the 1980s.

Traffic aide positions were created to fill a gap when the Philippine National Police concentrated only in peace and order.

“Ngaa indi kita ka permanent sa mga traffic aides, because we are under the PS Cap. Indi kita ka pagusto butang diri regular. Ti, they will fault us because of that? Ako we want to work with the national government,” the mayor said.

“We will always follow the directive but if they will make it impossible for us then we proceed with our ordinance,” he stressed.IMT