A MAVERICK senator, several congressmen, and major labor and partylist groups filed today at the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the recently implemented fare hike in the Light rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit.
The petitioners, led by Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, 2nd District Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, Ang Nars Partylist Rep. Leah Paquiz, Buhay Partylist Congressmen Lito Atienza, Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Vellarde, former Cavite 3rd District Rep. Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Allan Tanjusay, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP); Allan Montaño, Federation of Free Workers (FFW); Leody De Guzman, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP); Rene Magtubo, Partido Manggagawa (PM); and Annie Geron of PS LINK, said that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) failed to coordinate and direct the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) to comply with the publication, notice and hearing requirements for the fare hike.
According to Executive Order (EO) 202, the LTFRB has the “adjudicatory power to determine, prescribe and approve and periodically review and adjust, reasonable fares, rates and other related charges, relative to the operation of public land transportation services provided by motorized vehicles.” This function of LTFRB is also in relation to the 2011 LTFRB Rules of Procedure. Instead, however, the DOTC issued Department Order No. 2014 – 014 on December 18, 2014, which announced the fare increase.
The petitioners added that DOTC unilaterally proposed, approved and implemented the fare adjustment. Hence, DOTC has no authority to issue the assailed Department Order and therefore can be considered null and void.
Named respondents were LTFRB Chairman Winston M. Ginez, DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya, MRT 3 Office Officer-in-Charge Renato Z. San Jose, Metro Rail Transit Corporation and Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) Administrator Honorito D. Chaneco.
The petitioners also called the fare hike as “heartless” since majority of the commuters taking the LRT and MRT are employees, laborers, small workers and minimum and informal wage earners who can only afford to spend a small portion of their salary for transportation expense.
They added that the responsibility to protect the economically underprivileged from injustice and oppression was neglected when the government unilaterally implemented the fare adjustment.
Furthermore, the petitioners also registered that continuing maintenance problem besetting the MRT, which caused trip delays and breakdowns is one of the clear reasons that the implemented fare hike was inappropriate and unreasonable.
Rikki Mathay /( 02) 5526748