Supreme Court OKs release of 700,000 license plates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 23) — The long wait is over.

After almost two years of withholding the release of the 700,000 license plates, the Supreme Court has finally given the green light for its distribution.

In its en banc session Tuesday, the high court lifted the temporary restraining order issued on June 14, 2016.

This covers 300,000 license plates for motor vehicles and 400,000 plates for motorcycles.

Voting unanimously, the court upheld the constitutionality of the use of the appropriation under Motor Vehicle Registration and Driver's Licensing Regulatory Services in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2014 for the implementation of the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVPSP) of the Land Transportation Office.

"The Court ruled that the 2014 GAA included an appropriation for the program and the use of the appropriation is constitutional," SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said.

Former Abakada Party-list Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz and Paranaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting asked the Supreme Court to nullify the "application and implementation" of the questionable appropriation for P3.8 billion LTO Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program under the 2014 budget.

They wanted to invalidate government's contract with Power Plates Development Concepts, Inc/J. Knieriem B.V. Goes.

They argued the petition would prevent the "undue waste of people's money" in implementing the controversial plates modernization program.

But the Supreme Court cited the Jacomille vs Abaya case - where it already ruled on the legality of the procurement of the MVPSP.

It added "whatever defects attended the procurement had been 'cured' by the appropriation in the 2014 GAA of the full amount."