Court junks plea for road sharing

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a petition seeking to compel several government agencies to effect the “road-sharing principle.”

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In a full-court decision, the tribunal turned down the case filed by the group of one Victoria Segovia in 2014 that sought to release the road user’s tax to implement the road sharing and to compel government officials to reduce their fuel consumption by 50 percent, among others.

It effectively ruled to dismiss the petition for the writ of kalikasan and continuing mandamus for lack of merit.

The verdict was penned by Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa and concurred in by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and other justices.

The petitioners asked the court to compel the Budget department to release the road user’s tax to fund the reform of the road and transportation system and the implementation of the road-sharing principle.

But in the ruling, the SC held that public respondents sufficiently showed that “they did not unlawfully refuse to implement or neglect the laws, executive and administrative orders as claimed by the petitioners.”

According to the High Court, ”Projects and programs that seek to improve air quality were undertaken by the respondents, jointly and in coordination with stakeholders, such as: priority tagging of expenditures for climate change adaptation and mitigation, the integrated transport system which is aimed to decongest major thoroughfares, truck ban, anti-smoke belching campaign, anti-colorum, mobile bike service programs and urban re-greening programs.”

Colorum refers to vehicles without franchises.

“The efforts of local governments and administrative regions in conjunction with other · executive agencies and stakeholders are also outlined. Similarly, the writ of continuing mandamus cannot be issued,” the SC opined.

In junking the petition, it held that “there is no showing of unlawful neglect on the part of the respondents to perform any act that the law specifically enjoins as a duty, there being nothing in the executive issuances relied upon by the petitioners that specifically enjoins the bifurcation of roads to implement the road-sharing principle.”

“To the opposite, the respondents were able to show that they were and are actively implementing projects and programs that seek to improve air quality. At its core, what the petitioners are seeking to compel is not the performance of a ministerial act but a discretionary act–the manner of implementation of the road-sharing principle,” it explained.

JOMAR CANLAS

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