The Supreme Court magistrate who led in declaring the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional will handle petitions assailing fare increases in the Light Rail Transit 1, LRT 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3).
According to well-placed sources in the High Court, the case was raffled off to Justice Lucas Bersamin.
He was designated to review the petitions and recommend whether a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) should be issued. Since the tribunal is still in recess, his recommendation will be given to Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, who can issue a TRO in place of the court en banc.
Bersamin, a graduate of the University of the East in Manila, placed 9th in the Bar examinations in 1973.
He was a recipient of the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award (Outstanding Regional Trial Court Judge for 2002) in the 11th Judicial Excellence Awards (JEA). In the 2000 JEA, he notched the Best Decision in Civil Law and Best Decision in Criminal Law awards, an achievement that has not been repeated in courtt history.
Four petitions have been filed against the MRT-LRT fare hikes. Named respondents were Transportation Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya, Officer-in-Charge of MRT 3 Renato San Jose, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Honorito Chaneco, Metro Rail Transit Corporation, and Light Rail Manila Consortium.
The high tribunal was asked to issue a status quo ante order (SQAO) or any injunctive relief that would restore the LRT and MRT fare rates to their old levels.
The petitioners said Abaya has no authority to order fare increases or exercise quasi-judicial functions similar to those vested in the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, which approves fare increases and rollbacks.