A Makati Court has issued a ruling allowing the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to purchase additional coaches for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) that traverses EDSA.
Judge Joselito Villarosa of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 66 junked the instant petition for preliminary injunction filed by the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), owners of the MRT-3, against DOTC for lack of legal basis.
In junking MRTC’s petition, Villarosa also considered the current transport situation in Metro Manila and stressed the need by the DOTC to pursue the purchase of new light railway vehicles (LRVs) for the MRT-3.
“Guided by the tenets of the law and the State’s duty to protect its people, the Court likewise takes this occasion to take judicial notice of the current transport situation in Metro Manila. The Court cannot close its eyes on the prevailing traffic situation when it is aware that there are proper remedies to alleviate the same,” Villarosa said in his ruling.
“As a vanguard of public interest, the Court shall take this opportunity to do its share in providing a progressive solution to our traffic situation by allowing the government in accelerate its program to increase the procurement of additional units of LRVs to be utilized in our present railway system,” it added.
Villarosa also said in the ruling that the court is prohibited from issuing a ruling on preliminary injunction as ordered by the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has consistently held that public interest is paramount at all times and that private interest must yield to public interest for the promotion of the common good,” it added.
Villarosa earlier stopped the DOTC from purchasing 48 light rail vehicles from CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. as part of the capacity expansion project of the MRT-3. The Makati RTC issued a 20-day temporary order of protection (TOP) based on a petition filed by the MRTC against the DOTC.
The TOP “restrained DOTC from performing any and all acts related in any manner to its procurement of additional LRVs for the MRT-3, and from committing any act tending to usurp and to violate the rights of MRTC under the BLT [build-lease-transfer] agreement.”
The MRTC entered into a build-lease-transfer agreement with the DOTC in 1999 to construct and maintain a light rail transit system for EDSA, which is now the MRT-3.
In issuing the TOP, Villarosa underscored that among the rights assigned to MRTC under the BLT agreement was a provision stating that the company would only lose its preferential right to supply light rail vehicles in either one of two instances.
These are if the MRTC is in breach of its obligation under the BLT agreement, and if the rail firm consents to DOTC’s use of light rail vehicles which were not provided by MRTC.
However, the DOTC awarded the capacity expansion contract to Dalian last month, despite the existence of the BLT agreement.
Also, a capacity expansion report submitted by a proponent of the MRT-3 expansion project noted that Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was warned that CNR Dalian Locomotive does not have the track record in the manufacture of light rail vehicles.