Editorial: Better to resolve EO 34 issues in court

THE Cebu City Government’s campaign to strictly implement traffic laws and regulations, notably on the rule against counterflowing, has gotten interesting especially with the ambivalent responses to it. The move was largely praised early on but as the number of apprehended violators and vehicles impounded grew, criticisms hurled are also multiplying. It’s reality starting to bite.

The intensified campaign is based on the mayor’s Executive Order (EO) 34 that actually is not solely about driving left on the road or counterflowing but includes other forms of reckless driving. Drivers are not only apprehended and fined but their vehicles are also impounded for 30 days.

As of the other day, the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has impounded 110 vehicles, most of them motorcycles (103 units) and a few private vehicles (5 units), a taxi unit and a public utility jeepney. That motorcycles topped the list is not surprising considering that most of those who counterflow drive motorcycles that swerve in and out of the traffic.

Among the early objections in the implementation was the initial failure of traffic enforcers to differentiate counterflow from overtaking. That must have been addressed already because the complaints have shifted to the more controversial impounding of vehicles. The logic there is the same as the use of guns: the drivers are the violators, not the vehicles they are driving (or people, not guns, kill).

“The mayor can do it,” insisted City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez, although he based his reasoning on the Civil Code and not on the Traffic Code. But it would be futile arguing with Bernaldez or Osmeña on this one. We understand some lawyers are already contemplating on bringing the issue to the courts, which is good.

In the meantime, it would be good for the Cebu City Government to conduct an information drive because it seems like many violators profess ignorance of the existence of EO 34. Motorists, on the other hand, should make sure they would follow traffic rules and regulations, EO or no EO. As some wise guys would surely say, what is there to impound if there are no traffic violators?
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