The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced over the weekend that it would appeal before the Supreme Court (SC) the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to lift the suspension order against the franchise of G.V. Florida Transport Inc.
The pronouncement was made after the LTFRB consulted the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on the legal implications of the said CA decision which allowed 186 Florida buses to ply their routes again after three months of suspension.
In March, a bus unit of Florida fell off a ravine in Mountain Province, killing 15 people, including comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez. The mishap prompted the LTFRB to suspend Florida’s franchise.
However, the CA recently ruled that the LTFRB’s suspension order, which covered the entire bus fleet of Florida, was “without any factual and legal bases in the absolute absence of a violation or wrong committed”.
Thus, the OSG advised the LTFRB that it would appeal the CA decision before the SC to seek definitive guidance on the extent of the power of LTFRB to suspend the operations of bus companies if they fail in their duty to exercise extraordinary diligence in protecting the passengers of their buses.
The board suspended Florida’s operations for six months and cancelled the franchise of Mt. Province Cable Tours which is under the former’s beneficial ownership on March 14.
The board’s suspension order against Florida provided that the said penalty will only be lifted once all its drivers secure a National Compentency III certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, all of its conductors secure a license from the Land Transportation Office, all authorized bus units undergo roadworthiness inspection, and all drivers undergo compulsory drug testing.
The said suspension order will supposedly end in September.