How to Contest a Traffic Violation in the Philippines

Contesting Traffic Violations FAQ (v2022-1)

Q: I and/or my employee driver are often worried about being apprehended for traffic violations by unscrupulous MMDA/traffic enforcers. What should we do when/if we are apprehended?

A: Always be polite but on guard.  Check for anything that looks out of place like the uniform or the place you are apprehended.  The uniform should be standard and the places are often high traffic areas.  Note also that groups of officers are not allowed to crowd you or act in an intimidating manner.

Q: What is expected of the officer when the apprehend.

A: They are expected to introduce themselves and explain your violation.  They will ask to see your license and registration.

Q: Am I allowed to ask questions? What questions should I ask.

A: You can politely ask to see their ID card and/or “mission order”.  The ID card will confirm that the person is indeed an officer; while the mission order will confirm if they are indeed assigned to that area and on that day.  There are times that unscrupulous officers prey on road users even when they are off-duty; other times, criminals can pose as officers.

Q: If we do not agree with the MMDA/traffic enforcer. Can we contest the violation?

A: Yes.  The process to contest the application is usually provided on the ticket itself.  The MMDA has a Traffic Adjudication Board where road users can contest the violation.  There is also a Technical Committee on Complaints where road users can complain about the behavior of the MMDA official.

Q: What if I was apprehended by a local city traffic enforcer?

A: The process will depend on the particular city.  Usually, the ticket has information on how to contest the violation.  You may also ask the officer on how to question the violation.  If no information is available on the ticket or from the apprehending officer, you may visit the applicable City Hall to inquire on the proper procedure.

Q: How do I prove that I did not commit the violation?

A: Having a ‘dashcam’ is one of the best ways to prove that you did not make a violation.  Video and pictures taken from the cellphone camera are also useful.

Q: I don’t have a dash cam and I don’t have cellphone video or pictures. What can I provide.

A: You and available witnesses can prepare a ‘sworn statement’ or affidavit explaining what happened. Note that a witness must have seen the incident with their own eyes (personal knowledge).  They cannot base their affidavit on what other people said.

Q: I was apprehended for violating a one-way street in Makati City, but I did not know that the street is one-way and I did not see any signs. May I contest this?

A: The first step is to politely explain to the enforcer that you were not aware of the rule, apologize and ask for a warning.  Traffic enforcers are allowed to give you a warning but not required to do so.  Note that local city traffic is governed by local city ordinances, and road users are expected to know and follow the local rules.  However, if there is no sign, you can contest/appeal the violation.

Q: What will happen after I contest the violation and submit my evidence?

A: If overturned, the violation can be recalled. If your license was taken, it shall be returned.  If the violation is upheld, the fine can still be reduced for ‘humanitarian reasons’.

Q: What would be some examples of ‘humanitarian reasons’?

A: If the violation is clear but there are some valid reasons to give consideration to like the sign is slightly obstructed, or the area was dimly lit at night.