Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Having my license confiscated and claiming it at LTO-Main Office

I actually pride myself for not being your typical anak-ng-pulitiko.  I never drove a high-end sports car to college.  Back then, I drove a locally assembled Mazda pick-up.  Today, I drive a very spartan Toyota Vios.

I don’t have a bodyguard.  I had a driver and yaya before, but that was in grade school.  As much as possible, I don’t name drop.  I don’t carry a signed calling card of the PNP Director-General or the Vice-President in my wallet.  I don’t carry a gun.  Never have. 

When applying for government permits and licenses, I refuse to take the short-cut afforded to me as a son of a well-connected politician.  I line up just like everybody.  For example, what could have taken just one week to get my commissionship as a naval reserve officer by virtue of my dad’s friends in the military, took me almost a year to get because I applied and processed my papers the regular way.

When I travel with my dad and he skips lining up for customs and immigration, I cover my face with my jacket as I pass other passengers because I feel embarrassed and ashamed.

But, if there’s one thing I take advantage of, though, it’s that I use an “8” plate.

This, I am guilty as charged.

Pero I only use it to avoid the number-coding scheme.  That’s it.  I take it off kung hindi naman bawal.

At dito pa ako nayari last month.  Hehehe.

One fine Saturday morning, while driving to Miriam College for my business law class, I got caught by the PNP-LTO Highway Patrol along Katipunan Ave.  Nagtaka ako ba’t ako hinuli eh naka-seatbelt naman ako.  We were a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, siguro at least 10 cars.  And I noticed all of us had something in common, our plates.

Apparently, the Highway Patrol has this new campaign against car plates.  Lahat hinuli.  Commemorative plates, make-shift plates, plates with expired LTO stickers, no plates and other special plates—pati “8”.

Unauthorized use of special plate daw yung sa akin.

Because it was an “8” plate, which is for Congressmen, necessarily, I dropped the name of my dad.  Out of “respect,” the policeman who caught me was about to let me go, but sinigawan siya ng “hepe”/chief niya.  So he had no choice but to hold me and write me a ticket.  I could have called my dad, but didn’t.  These guys were just doing their job.  And, it was really wrong for me to use the “8” plate, which like I said is reserved only for congressmen.

So, they confiscated the plate and my driver’s license.

No problem.  Taught me a lesson.

The next week, I claimed my license at the LTO, and gawd, it made me feel I should have carried my weight around when I got caught because it’s such a disorganized place!

I mean you could see there was an attempt to try to be organized by providing a map and all, but it was useless because it was not updated.

You’d expect to go to one place, pay your fine and go.

But no.

It took me siguro 10 minutes to find the office where I was supposed to go, which is here:

Then I had to pay it in a separate building, right here:

Then I had to walk to another building to claim my license:

You would think, by 2000s the LTO would have it down pat—to have simplified procedures and truly have a one-stop shop.  I mean they’ve only been existing since what, 1950?

It was like they took one step forward with computers, and three steps backward with all the bureaucratic red tape.

It took me the whole morning to get my license back.  Gee-maneez.

Would I carry my weight around next time I get caught?  No.  Still no.

I’d rather write a strongly worded complaint letter addressed to the LTO Chief.

(I wrote this while waiting out Typhoon Karen to pass our province.)

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