The case stemmed from a petition filed by former Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz (Abakada party-list) seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the distribution of the 300,000 license plates for vehicles and 400,000 license plates for motorcycles, earlier seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and donated to the LTO. DOTC

SC lifts halt order on release of 700,000 license plates
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) - January 23, 2018 - 3:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the June 2016-issued halt order on the release of 700,000 license plates donated to the Land Transportation Office.

Voting unanimously on Tuesday, the high court upheld the constitutionality of the 2014 General Appropriations Act, paving the way for the release of the license plates earlier seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and donated to the LTO.

In a briefing, SC Spokesperson Ted Te said that the "Court ruled that the 2014 GAA included an appropriation for the program and the use of the appropriation is constitutional."

The case stemmed from a petition filed by former Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz (Abakada party-list) seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the distribution of the 300,000 license plates for vehicles and 400,000 license plates for motorcycles, earlier seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and donated to the LTO.

On June 14, 2016, the SC issued a TRO on the release of the said license plates.

According to Te, the Court noted that it had earlier released a decision (Jacomille v. Abaya) on the "legality of the procurement of the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVPSP)" in an April 2015 case.

"Whatever defects attended the procurement had been 'cured' by the appropriation in the 2014 GAA of the full amount," Te said.

"The appropriation, both for procurement and implementation, has been examined and decided by the Court and may not be assailed anew under the present petition based on the same grounds, which had already been dealth with in the Jacomille decision," Te added.

The plates were held at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) for about a year before the BOC confiscated them from Filipino-Dutch consortium, J. Knieriem B.V. Goes and Power Plates Development Concept Inc. for the company's failure to pay some P40 million in duties and taxes.

JKG-PPI bagged the P3.8-billion deal for the supply of car plates.

On April 15, 2016, BOC Commissioner Alberto Lina turned over to LTO chief Roberto Cabrera the license plates that were stored in 11 shipping containers.

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