LTO to extend driver’s license validity for a year amid legal battle – Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will extend the validity of driver’s licenses for one year, after prodding from lawmakers scrutinizing the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) budget on Monday.
At the tail end of the over 12-hour deliberations, Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza Transportation asked Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza II, who heads the LTO, if it was true that the agency would now agree to the suggestion of Agri party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee.
On Monday morning, Lee suggested that, since the renewal of driver’s licenses was in limbo due to a temporary restraining order (TRO) from a Quezon City court, expiring licenses should be automatically extended for a year instead.
“Earlier, I mentioned an issue because of a pending TRO or cases with the LTO, the honorable Wilbert Lee, which I supported, he requested that, you know, to help the public with renewing their driver’s license, there’s no reason why you can just make it one year and I was told that there were certain computations made,” Daza said.
“So I’d like to end my night on a good note, so I’d like to confirm with the LTO that they will agree with the committee and some members to go ahead and allow one-year renewal of those driver’s licenses that cannot be renewed at this point because of the pending case.”
Mendoza confirmed this, with Daza replying that he was hoping Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista would be made aware of this development.
Bautista left the budget deliberations before noon to join President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who flew to Indonesia for the 43rd Asean Summit.
“Yes, Mr. Chair, we confirm the one-year extension,” Mendoza said.
“Thank you so much. I hope Secretary Bautista will hear about this good news. It’s good for the public,” Daza answered.
Earlier, Mendoza assured the public that the LTO would implement smooth extension procedures for expiring driver’s licenses, even as LTO officials were optimistic that the TRO against the delivery of plastic cards would be lifted.
Last Aug. 15, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 215 issued a TRO, acting upon a petition filed by AllCard Inc. — a plastic card company that lost in the bidding for LTO’s license cards.
According to AllCard Inc., the court ruled that the Centralized Bids and Awards Committee of the LTO committed grave abuse of discretion by disqualifying the company from the bidding. It accused the LTO of wrongfully accusing it of having delays in its ongoing projects with other government agencies, such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Social Security System.
The company also claimed that it had the lowest bid of P176,853,600 — lower than the P240.12 million set aside for the plastic cards.
Mendoza said the court would rule on the issue on Wednesday. If the TRO would be lifted, the LTO could then resume with the issuance of driver’s licenses.
But if the court would issue an injunction, a longer period for the suspension of the contract’s implementation might be set.