It’s been a long time coming, but House Bill 3366, otherwise known as the Fair Traffic Apprehension Act has reached the Philippine Senate and is now being pushed for approval. In a nutshell, the Act seeks to protect motorists from being wrongfully apprehended. Those whose citations are justified need not bother, but those who feel that they’re being flagged for something wrong that they did not do, better read on.
Fair Traffic Apprehension Act, filed by Cong. Bosita, now being pushed for Senate approval
We previously published an article on the filing of House Bill 3366 in Congress. After it reached the Senate, is now known as Senate Bill 1976 and still bears the same name. The Bill aims to give compensation to motorists who are wrongfully apprehended for traffic violations. We all know how tedious it is to even start contesting citations, and should we prove to be innocent, then there will be fair compensation headed our way.
Alongside, traffic enforcers who carry out said wrongful traffic apprehensions will also be handed administrative sanctions. As the Bill states, “This is intended to hold erring traffic enforcers accountable for their actions and prevent them from abusing their authority in the future”.
So how is it supposed to work? According to the published Senate document for the Fair Traffic Apprehension Act, “Any driver of motor vehicle apprehended by any traffic enforcement personnel may contest the traffic apprehension before the traffic adjudication board of the traffic enforcement authority to which the traffic enforcer belongs within sixty (60) days from the date of apprehension or discovery of the same. The apprehending traffic enforcement personnel has the burden of proof and shall prove before the traffic adjudication board that the driver has improperly apprehended and impose administrative sanctions against erring traffic enforcement personnel”.
The Fair Traffic Apprehension Act further reads “Upon failure of the apprehending traffic enforcement personnel to prove the traffic violation or upon proper showing by the driver of sufficient evidence that the traffic apprehension is improper and that there is no violation of any traffic laws, rules and regulations, the driver is entitled to compensation. The traffic adjudication board of the concerned traffic enforcement authority shall include in its decision the award of the compensation to the complaint upon dismissing the contested traffic comprehension”.
“Compensation”. How much, you ask?
This will amount to the total of “incidental expenses incurred, moral damages suffered by the driver and the rate of wage”. Those who are employed will need to submit proof of their daily work rate and how many days they were unable to go to work (for a multiplier of the total compensation).
For those who are unemployed, self-employed or with business, it will amount to “the prevailing minimum wage in the locality where the driver apprehended multiplied by the number of times the driver appeared before the traffic adjudication board to contest the improper apprehension. The driver must present a barangay certification or other documents as proof that the driver is unemployed, self-employed or with business “.
Compensation under the Fair Traffic Apprehension Act will also include those incurred for having a vehicle impounded, towed, or for being damaged or incurring any material losses.
Motorists in the Philippines have no shortage of horror stories of wrongful apprehensions, apprehensions, and the dreaded and rampant “kotong” cops. Should the Fair Traffic Apprehension Act be approved, it should strike some sense and urgency in the traffic enforcement departments to educate their men and women on the ground and sway them from engaging in unscrupulous behaviors.
For sure, a lot of us will be waiting for news on Senate Bill 1976 finally getting the thumbs up. It’s been a long time coming, don’t you agree?