Right to supply trains to MRT3 being disputed

0

The party that should supply additional light-rail vehicles (LRVs) for the expansion of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 line is still bitterly contested in a lower court.

Advertisements

After a Makati court temporarily stopped the purchase of additional LRVs for the expansion of the MRT3, the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) on Friday maintained that it has the capacity and the legal rights to supply the needed coaches.

“MRTC, through its shareholder MRT Holdings, has the contract to build the MRT 3 system as well as to add trains or additional spur lines connected to the MRT3,” MRT Holdings spokesman David Barbara said in a statement.

Barbara questioned the move of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to award the contract to Chinese firm CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co.

“How can DOTC unilaterally usurp the rights of MRTC?” asked Barbara.

This prompted MRTC to seek relief from the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 66, which, in turn, stopped the DOTC from pushing through with its purchase of 48 LRVs from the Chinese firm.

“The MRTC owners can exercise its rights and supply trains to the MRT system within a timely manner. This will assure compatibility with the existing system, and insure safety and efficiency for the commuting public. This proposal will be made in accordance with terms and conditions of existing agreements between MRTC and DOTC,” Barbara added.

However, lawyers for the DOTC from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) questioned the holding of yesterday’s hearing for the petition for the granting of a preliminary injunction against the agency.

Lawyers from the OSG said the hearing should not push through as they have yet to file their comment. They added that the 15-day period given to them by the court had not yet lapsed.

DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said “the MRTC board already confirmed with the DOTC that this is an unauthorized court case.”

“As to the ownership of MRT-3, Executive Order 855 issued in 2013 authorizes government to implement the equity value buy-out,” he said in a text message.

Sagcal said they are ready to defend their position in court adding that “the government has its rights, too, as well as the obligation to fight for the interest of the riding public.”

Makati RTC Branch 66 Presiding Judge Joselito Villarosa has given the DOTC 15 days to file a comment on the order and the petition.

Villarosa reminded the government lawyers that although they were given 15 days to file their comment, they should not exhaust the entire period as they were aware that the hearing was scheduled on Friday.

Meanwhile, Nick Villaluz, another lawyer for the MRTC, told reporters that they would be presenting four witnesses at the next hearing.

Villaluz said their witnesses, who include MRTC Chairman Robert Sobrepeña, will testify how the MRTC will suffer irreparable damages if the injunction against the DOTC is not issued.

He added that there was a possibility that the 20-day temporary order of protection (TOP) earlier granted by the court would be extended if the hearings for the preliminary injunction will drag. The TOP will be effective only until February 24.

The former Metro Rail Transit Corp. Limited (MRTCL)—the predecessor of the MRTC—entered into a build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement with the DOTC in 1999 to construct and maintain a light rail transit system for EDSA, eventually known as MRT-3.

In his two-page order, Villarosa granted the petition of the MRTC seeking for a preliminary injunction “as interim measure of protection” through the immediate issuance of a 20-day temporary order of protection” against DOTC.

Right to supply trains to MRT3 being disputed

The party that should supply additional light-rail vehicles (LRVs) for the expansion of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 line is still bitterly contested in a lower court.

After a Makati court temporarily stopped the purchase of additional LRVs for the expansion of the MRT3, the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) on Friday maintained that it has the capacity and the legal rights to supply the needed coaches.

“MRTC, through its shareholder MRT Holdings, has the contract to build the MRT 3 system as well as to add trains or additional spur lines connected to the MRT3,” MRT Holdings spokesman David Barbara said in a statement.

Barbara questioned the move of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to award the contract to Chinese firm CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co.

“How can DOTC unilaterally usurp the rights of MRTC?” asked Barbara.

This prompted MRTC to seek relief from the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 66, which, in turn, stopped the DOTC from pushing through with its purchase of 48 LRVs from the Chinese firm.

“The MRTC owners can exercise its rights and supply trains to the MRT system within a timely manner. This will assure compatibility with the existing system, and insure safety and efficiency for the commuting public. This proposal will be made in accordance with terms and conditions of existing agreements between MRTC and DOTC,” Barbara added.

However, lawyers for the DOTC from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) questioned the holding of yesterday’s hearing for the petition for the granting of a preliminary injunction against the agency.

Lawyers from the OSG said the hearing should not push through as they have yet to file their comment. They added that the 15-day period given to them by the court had not yet lapsed.

DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said “the MRTC board already confirmed with the DOTC that this is an unauthorized court case.”

“As to the ownership of MRT-3, Executive Order 855 issued in 2013 authorizes government to implement the equity value buy-out,” he said in a text message.

Sagcal said they are ready to defend their position in court adding that “the government has its rights, too, as well as the obligation to fight for the interest of the riding public.”

Makati RTC Branch 66 Presiding Judge Joselito Villarosa has given the DOTC 15 days to file a comment on the order and the petition.

Villarosa reminded the government lawyers that although they were given 15 days to file their comment, they should not exhaust the entire period as they were aware that the hearing was scheduled on Friday.

Meanwhile, Nick Villaluz, another lawyer for the MRTC, told reporters that they would be presenting four witnesses at the next hearing.

Villaluz said their witnesses, who include MRTC Chairman Robert Sobrepeña, will testify how the MRTC will suffer irreparable damages if the injunction against the DOTC is not issued.

He added that there was a possibility that the 20-day temporary order of protection (TOP) earlier granted by the court would be extended if the hearings for the preliminary injunction will drag. The TOP will be effective only until February 24.

The former Metro Rail Transit Corp. Limited (MRTCL)—the predecessor of the MRTC—entered into a build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement with the DOTC in 1999 to construct and maintain a light rail transit system for EDSA, eventually known as MRT-3.

In his two-page order, Villarosa granted the petition of the MRTC seeking for a preliminary injunction “as interim measure of protection” through the immediate issuance of a 20-day temporary order of protection” against DOTC.

 Rosalie C. Periabras and Ritchie A. Horario

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

Comments are closed.