Supreme Court issues TRO barring release of license plates

  • The Supreme Court issued a TRO barring LTO from releasing license plates turned over by Customs
  • The plates were confiscated in 2015 after supplier failed to pay taxes and customs duties
  • Customs “donated” the plates to LTO as it can neither utilize nor dispose them

The Supreme Court (SC) temporarily stopped the Land Transportation Office (LTO) from releasing the 700,000 license plates to motorists and from accepting more license plates from the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore Te said the high court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the “release, distribution, or disposal in any manner” involving the 300,000 license plates for motor vehicles and 400,000 for motorcycles which were turned over by BOC to LTO, as per an article published by Rappler.

The high court issued the restraining order after outgoing party-list Representative Jonathan Dela Cruz and Parañaque Representative Gustavo Tambunting filed a petition with the high court saying the confiscated license plates cannot be donated by Customs to LTO because of the notice of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit (COA).

Te said the restraining order stays while the high court delves into the merits of the case.

The license plates were confiscated and seized from the supplier, Power Plates Development Concepts Inc./J. Knieriem B.V. Goes (PPI-JKG), for non-payment of taxes and customs duties, as per an article published by Inquirer.

Since its confiscation in 2015, the shipment has been kept at the Manila International Container Port.

BOC said it could neither utilize nor dispose of the plates which were specifically made according to the requirements and security features prescribed by the LTO, so the bureau decided to “donate” the plates to LTO.

Atty. Leo Romero, counsel of Dela Cruz and Tambunting, said the issuance of the TRO is a “victory for the Filipino people.”

“Now, we look forward to a government of change and not the previous government which appeared to adopt a culture of criminal impunity in the wastage of public funds and the proliferation of graft and corruption,” he said.