The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 66 has stopped the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) from purchasing coaches for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) from CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co.
The purchase of the 48 new coaches is part of the MRT-3 capacity expansion project of the DOTC.
In a two-page order, Presiding Judge Joselito Villarosa of Makati City RTC Branch 66 granted the petition of the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) and MRTC Ltd. (MRTCL) for a preliminary injunction “as interim measure of protection” through the immediate issuance of a 20-day temporary order of protection” against DOTC.
In 1999, the MRTCL entered into a build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement with the DOTC to construct and maintain a light rail transit system for EDSA, also known as MRT-3.
Villarosa said that among the rights assigned to MRTCL and MRTC under the BLT agreement was contained in paragraph 5.2, that it would only lose its preferential right to supply light rail vehicles in either one of two instances: a) if the MRTC is in breach of its obligation under the BLT Agreement; or b) if the MRTC consents to DOTC’s use of light rail vehicles which were not provided by MRTC.
However, DOTC awarded the capacity expansion contract to Dalian last month, despite the BLT agreement.
“After painstaking and assiduous perusal of the records of the case, the Court finds that there is an urgent need to either preserve property, prevent the respondent from disposing of, or concealing, the property, or prevent the relief prayed for from becoming illusory because of prior notice,” Villarosa said in his order.
The court finds that the reasons given by the petitioners are “meritorious.”
“The Court hinges its ruling on the fact that petitioners have neither breached their obligation under the agreement or much more gave its consent to the DOTC pursuant to section 5.2 of their agreement,” the judge said.
For the public’s good
Earlier, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said that, “Dailan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. CNR Group is the lone company that submitted a bid for the MRT-3 project in June.”
Abaya added that once Dalian Locomotive’s bid is approved, the DOTC expects new trains to be delivered by 2016.
The MRT-3 expansion project aims to add 48 light rail vehicles to the existing system.
DOTC said that this will decongest the system by allowing more cars to operate at faster intervals, especially during the rush hours.
Data from Metro Rail Transit Authority showed that the rail system recorded an average daily ridership of 456,755 in 2012, higher than its capacity of 350,000 a day.
The DOTC was given 15 days to file its comment before the court.
“Our legal department is now reviewing it, but we are ready to explain our position on adding MRT coaches for the benefit of its riders,” said Michael Arthur Sagcal, DOTC spokesperson.
WITH REPORT FROM RITCHIE A. HORARIO