TO RAISE FUNDS Superior Court goes after traffic violators

Posted on Jul 20 1999

In efforts to force traffic violators to pay fines, the Superior Court is planning to publish in the newspapers the names of those who have ignored the citation and defied the warrant to show up in court.

According to Judge Edward Manibusan, the measure will be implemented once the court has set up new computers to track people who have pending traffic citation.

“As soon as the computerization of the traffic record is done, then we will have a better idea of those who have not paid and these are the people whom we are going to go after,” he said in an interview.

The publication of the names in the newspapers will serve as warrant of arrest to force them to appear in the Superior Court and pay the overdue fines.

Manibusan disclosed the plan during a recent budget hearing by the House Ways and Means Committee on the judiciary, saying this is one step to improve the financial standing of the courts.

Revenues from traffic fines and other court penalties have been a major source of income for the judicial branch to pay back its loan from the NMI Retirement Fund, which financed the construction of its multimillion-dollar building in Susupe.

The court has to raise at least $85,000 a month for its debt service, but Manibusan revealed they have been behind in meeting their obligations due to shrinking resources.

To address the financial problems, the Superior Court has hiked the penalty for traffic violators to $125 if they fail to appear on the appointed court appearance.

While they have no exact figure of the people who have evaded the subpoena or the total collections by the court, Manibusan pointed out that they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of these offenders in recent months.

“We have seen a lot of them not showing up to pay their traffic citation,” he explained, but added they don’t know the reason why they fail to do so. “People just don’t show up to pay their fines.”

When asked whether the Department of Public Safety has been lax in the enforcement of traffic laws, Manibusan said they must step up its campaign against evaders.

“They are doing something right now, but I think it is not enough considering the number of traffic warrants (that they issue). That’s why we are trying to work together with them in this endeavor,” the judge pointed out.

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