CA allows purchase of new MRT trains

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Rail commuters can look forward to riding new Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT) trains after the Court of Appeals (CA) lifted all legal obstacles to the purchase by the government of 48 light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the problem-riddled rail system.

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The CA’s 14th Division allowed the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to proceed with its P3.8-billion deal with a Chinese company to buy brand new LRVs.

The decision penned by Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio-Diy junked the petition of Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) and MRT Holdings II to stop the DOTC from awarding the contract to Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock.

The MRT 3 builders argued that the DOTC undertook the procurement through public bidding of additional LRVs without its consent. The petitioners claimed this is in violation of their BLT (build lease transfer) under which they can exercise the right of first refusal.

They added that the DOTC’s procurement of LRVs from Dalian deviates from the principle of having a single point of responsibility for the construction, operation and maintenance of MRT3.

However, the appellate court affirmed its July 31, 2014 resolution that junked the MRTC’s motion for the issuance of temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction on the contract.

The CA ruled that the issues and arguments raised by the petitioners do not hold water. It also did not give credence to the MRTC’s claim that the procurement of LRVs from Dalian Locomotive would lead to higher risks of train collisions and cause huge damage to MRT3 system.

“We likewise find that the arguments raised by petitioners in support of their motion for reconsideration are a mere rehash of the arguments in their allegations in support of their prayer for injunctive relief incorporated in the instant petition for review, which had already been thoroughly considered by this Court,” the court said.

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