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QC court issues TRO to stop LTO in delivery, processing driver’s license cards

QC court issues TRO to stop LTO in delivery, processing driver’s license cards

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MANILA, Philippines — A temporary restraining order (TRO) has set back the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) delivery and processing of plastic license cards meant to address the current backlog of 1.7 million cards.

In an order dated August 15, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court branch 215 issued a TRO against the LTO, effectively suspending its delivery of plastic license cards for 20 days.

The court’s order reflected a petition filed by AllCard Inc., a losing bidder for the supply of plastic cards, after it accused the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Centralized Bids and Awards Committee of committing grave abuse of discretion.

AllCard argued that it was disqualified even when it presented the lowest bid of P176,853,600, which was significantly lower than the P240.12 million budget approved for the plastic licenses.

The card supplier also pointed out that the LTO wrongfully accused it of having had delays in its ongoing projects with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Social Security System and the Land Bank of the Philippines without even giving the company a chance to verify it.

Furthermore, the firm also alleged that the LTO immediately awarded the deal to Banner Plasticard Inc., without even waiting for the reglementary period to file a protest to finish.

This, AllCard said, caused it “irreparable injury in terms of massive financial injury due to opportunity loss and injury to [its] reputation.”

The court then granted AllCard its petition, affirming how it was deprived of its right to due process.

“This case unfortunately reeks with unfairness or injustice to the petitioner who was clearly deprived of its right to due process, and deserving judicial intervention,” the order read.

The RTC then set a hearing on Tuesday, August 22.

No basis

Meanwhile, during a press conference on Thursday, LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II said that he does not believe that there is a basis for the court to stop. 

“Sa ganitong kalakalan ang pinaka importante ang grave and irreparable damage. Ano pa ang pinaka grabe na damage na mangyayari sa petitioner kung patuloy ang pag-deliver at proseso ng mga cards na ito, eh ang nakikita ko eh hindi naman ata grave hindi naman at irreparable,” said Mendoza.

(In this kind of trade, the most important thing is grave and irreparable damage. What is the worst damage that will happen to the petitioner if the delivery and processing of these cards continues, what I see is not serious, not irreparable.)

“If at all, kahit tama ‘yung sinasabi ng ating petitioner, there is no basis for the injunction, LTO should be able to continue processing and the delivery should continue, para matapos na ‘yung bigger picture — backlogs ng driver’s license cards,” he added.

(so that the bigger picture — backlogs of driver’s license cards can be finished.)

Mendoza said that he is confident that the court will lift the suspension during the hearing on August 22.

“The greater public interest should prevail, over the business interest of one or two,” he noted.

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According to Mendoza, the suspension would be a “temporary setback” for the LTO to address the current backlogs on driver’s license cards.

He explained that more or less 100,000 cards have already been delivered by Banner, with a million more set to be delivered by the end of September.

“‘Yun po ang hinahananda natin ng ating bawat distrito ng ating regional offices na mapababa agad itong 1 million cards, this could wipe out more than half of the backlog,” said Mendoza.

(That’s what we are preparing in each district of our regional offices to get these 1 million cards down immediately, this could wipe out more than half of the backlog.)

The current backlog on license cards, said Mendoza, sits at 1.7 million, which means that if the target 1 million cards will be delivered by the end of September, the backlog in cards will be completely addressed within the year.

“Tapos ‘yung ating current usage na 23,000 cards a day ay mabibigyan na po natin ng pansin so mawawala na po ang delay natin,” he added.

(Then we can pay attention to our current usage of 23,000 cards a day so our delay will end.)

Mendoza said that should the suspension persist, LTO may then have to implement other temporary measures such as temporary paper licenses, engraving expired cards with extension dates, or electronic driver’s licenses.