Monday, April 11, 2011

Commemorative Plates and the Continued Idiotization of the PNP

If the title shows my obvious frustration, just let it be. For so long, I wanted to write about the nincompoops in the PNP higher ups but I kept my peace because mediocrity in the PNP is understandable considering the brain drain that it continues to experience. (I will write more about this topic in the future.) However, even the few bright men (or so I thought) that remained in the PNP to reach the star ranks are seemingly influenced by the non-thinking ones and not the other way around. The latest general I saw afflicted by this “mediocrity-syndrome” is Leonardo Espina, the Chief of the Highway Patong Group (Formerly the Trigger Men Group). Espina was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer saying “As a general rule, commemorative plates should be placed side by side or on top of the original license plate.”
As a former spokesman of the PNP and an officer with a reputation as a bright boy, I expect Espina to at least reduce the confusion about commemorative plates started by the feeling-bright Supt Dennis Siervo when he was still the Chief of HPG-NCR in his attempt to impress PNoy during the early days of the latter’s presidency. Espina and Siervo wanted that commemorative plates be displayed this way:

Is this the correct way? Let us examine the law that governs this: Republic Act 4136 otherwise known as the "Land Transportation and Traffic Code." RA 4136 states in Section 18 (Use of number plates) "At all times, every motor vehicle shall display in conspicuous places, one in front and one in the rear thereof, the said number plates. The number plates shall be kept clean and cared for, and shall be firmly affixed to the motor vehicle in such a manner as will make it entirely visible and always legible." So the law is very clear. Will superimposing a commemorative plate over the license plate, like in this case, a violation of the law?

Definitely yes, because doing so will violate the requirement that the plate must always be legible and entirely visible. So that makes Espina and Siervo right? No!

This is so because legal commemorative plates have this special permit in the form of a sticker affixed to the windshield of the vehicle:

The permit reads: “This commemorative motor vehicle plate is authorized and approved by LTO and DOTC. Valid until ****." It is signed by the LTO, the DOTC, and the representative of the group producing the plates. Issuing this permit is also legal and within the power of the LTO because Section 17 (a) of RA 4136 reads “The Commissioner shall cause number plates to be prepared and issued to owners of motor vehicles and trailers registered under this Act.”

What is the significance of this permit? Well, most of the time, commemorative plates are produced by a group, with the approval of the LTO, after paying the corresponding fees imposed by the government, to “commemorate” a significant event and at the same time, to raise funds for some charitable purpose. The plates are sold at some exorbitant prices, some going as high as P5,000.00 each. And what is the purpose of people in buying these plates? Nothing really except that personally, the plates give me a feeling of uniqueness as it sets my car apart from the others. Do other people buy it to evade number coding? Maybe, but most, if not all, know that even while using the plates and they get apprehended for number coding violation (using their tag numbers at the back), then they know that they will not be saved by the plates. So, if Espina wants people to display the commemorative plates side by side or on top of the regular plates, why in hell do LTO and DOTC need to issue these permits in the first place? Isn’t it that displaying other plates is not illegal, as long as the original plates are not covered? Why do people need permits—that they pay the government for it—to do something perfectly legal in the first place anyway?

Idiotic, isn’t it? Obviously, the permit is for people to use the commemorative plate like a regular plate! They can cover the regular plate if they want to! If you don’t agree with me, then what are you going to do with this jeepney? Apprehend him for not having a permit for his “commemorative plate?” Is he committing a violation? Does he need a permit to do this?

Postscript: All pictures in this entry are grabbed from the internet. If you are the owner of any of this and you do not want me to use your picture, please email me. Thanks!


  1. Hi i agree with you 100% and am always at loggerheads with these morons. Kindly verify if this LTO Administrative Order has not been superceded yet?
    Thanks much!

  2. nice article, i hope government agencies can read this.

  3. Sir what if i make my own commemorative plate just like names, logos of our group. etc.. Is there such way that my vehicle would be illegal if i place just like Espina said?

    1. nah, di ba nakita mo naman sa jeep sa taas? ano naman ang magagawa ng gobyerno kung gusto mo na marami ang plate numbers mo as long as you comply with the basic requirement that the official government-issued plate is correctly displayed?

      actually marami na ang gumagawa nyang sinasabi mo di ba? marami ang nagdidisplay ng us and european plates katabi ng regular plates nila and i dont see any violation in doing this. ang alam ko lang ay sa mga puvs on the display of signs in their windshields ang may restrictions.

      correct me if i am wrong...

      thanks for the visit!

  4. Nissan Xtrail na puti. ANg plaka sa harap-- NAPOLCOM

    Paki pa surveillance ang parking lot ng Napolcom at litratuhan ang plaka sa harap at likod para ma ibandera sa madla at maka bawi ang mga pulis sa mga ito. :)

    1. hahaha, numero unong violator ng batas ang mga taga NAPOLCOM na yan. talong talo ang pulis ng mga yan pag umasta!


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