THE Supreme Court (SC) ordered the executive department to lodge their explanation on the petition seeking to stop the implementation of the controversial Integrated Transport System, which paved way for the establishment of an integrated terminal in Parañaque City.
The Court en banc refused to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the petition for certiorari and prohibition on the second petition filed by bus operators Angeles Bayot, Miriam Villena, Nila Santos, Angela Legaspi, Orlando Ocampo, Basilia Cruto and Diosdado Perillo, all Grantees of Certificate of Public Convenience to Operate Public Utility Bus Service for the Cavite-Metro Manila Route.
Commuters Paniga Ledera and Dolores Salanga filed an earlier petition opposing the order of Malacañang, Department of Transportation and Communications and Metro Manila Development Authority, which stopped provincial buses to ply their routes around Metro Manila.
In a two-page Resolution, dated November 26 but released to the media recently, the Court en banc directed the respondents to file comment within a period of 10 days from notice.
“Acting on the petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a status quo ante order, the court resolved, without giving due course to the petition to . . . require the respondents to Comment on the petition and prayer for status quo ante order within 10 days from notice hereof,” the resolution avers.
The Court also ordered the Bayot petition be consolidated with the commuters’ complaint.
The opening of the Southwest Interim Transport Terminal (SITT) in Uniwide Coastal Mall on August 6 has been met with disgust from affected commuters as provincial buses from southern Luzon have to stop there and are no longer allowed to proceed to Manila.
The petitioners asked the high tribunal to immediately issue temporary restraining order against the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 67, “Providing For the Establishment of the Integrated Transport System issued by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Administrative Order [AO] 40, “Providing For the Establishment of Interim Transport Terminals in Preparation for the Integrated Transport System” also issued by President Aquino; Memorandum Circular 2013-004 issued by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) which amends routes of provincial buses coming from southern Luzon.
Petitioners also asked the court to declare the assailed orders and memorandum as unconstitutional and violation of existing laws.
They questioned the legality of Section 5 of AO 40 as it allegedly violates their rights to due process and equal protection clauses guaranteed by the Constitution.
Petitioners also argued that the said provision of AO 40 violates Section 16 of Commonwealth Act 146 or the Public Service Law “for having been implemented without due notice and public hearing.”
They also believed that it is “in conflict with the time honored doctrine of public interest and convenience in the exercise of the LTFRB authority to regulate public conveniences.”
They also complained of suffering extended travel hours, increased fare expenses and inadequate public utility vehicles that will transport them to their destination from the SIIT.
In the meantime, the Bayot group asked the high court to conduct an ocular inspection in the area.
In a 12-page Omnibus Motion, they told SC that the amendment of their CPCs was made by the LTFRB without giving them the opportunity to be heard and notified as required under Section 16 of Commonwealth Act 146 or the Public Service Act, thus a violation of their constitutional right to due process.
The group said that the SITT violates the requirements of EO 67, which provides for an integrated transport system that is “at par with international standard which could provide an effective interconnections between different transport modes and services and will insure efficient and seamless travel for the commuting public. Instead of an integrated system what the LTFRB created was an ‘isolated’ or ‘interim’ system.”
Too, while the EO 67, the basis of establishing a transport system in the country provides for only two terminals, i.e., South and North Transport Terminals, the LTFRB and DOTC suddenly came up with the SITT without even having started any action to establish the South or North Transport terminals
“An ocular inspection of the SITT premises will expose the unbearable condition of the SITT which is a far cry from any international standard of a transport system. The commuters are exposed to too much pollution brought about by the continuous emissions of polluted air from the diesel engines of the hundreds of buses waiting in queue to load their passengers. The unsanitary comfort rooms for male and female constructed adjacent to each other aggravate the sad and agonizing experiences of the commuters, the drivers and the conductors. Furthermore, the commuters were forced to incur additional expenses because they have to transfer from one ride to another to reach their destination in Manila,” it was pointed out.