I am an operator of a public utility jeepney (PUJ) and the same was involved in a vehicular accident, which resulted in the death of one passenger. The relative of the latter filed criminal and civil cases against me, including an administrative case for the cancellation of my Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) to operate a PUJ. The passenger’s relative is claiming that my franchise will be canceled; hence I will no longer be allowed to operate the PUJ. Assuming this is true, can I consider the cancellation of my franchise to be tantamount to deprivation of property right?
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has the authority to cancel a CPC or franchise issued to operators of PUJs. This is in consonance with Section 16 (m) of Commonwealth Act 146, otherwise known as the “Public Service Act,” which states that:
“The Commission shall have power, upon proper notice and hearing in accordance with the rules and provisions of this Act, subject to the limitations and exceptions mentioned and saving provisions to the contrary: xxx
“To amend, modify or revoke at any time certificate issued under the provisions of this Act, whenever the facts and circumstances on the strength of which said certificate was issued have been misrepresented or materially changed. xxx”
The cancellation of franchise shall be upon proper notice and hearing and if there are rules or regulations violated by the franchise holder. Moreover, the cancellation or revocation of franchise shall be under the jurisdiction of the LTFRB.
The CPC is not a property. This was expounded by the court in its decision, titled Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board vs GV Florida Transport Inc. (GR 213088, June 28, 2017), where the Supreme Court, through Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, stated that:
“Petitioner’s argument pales on the face of the fact that the very nature of a certificate of public convenience is at cross purposes with the concept of vested rights. To this day, the accepted view, at least insofar as the State is concerned, is that ‘a certificate of public convenience constitutes neither a franchise nor a contract, confers no property right, and is a mere license or privilege.’ The holder of such certificate does not acquire a property right in the route covered thereby. Nor does it confer upon the holder any proprietary right or interest of franchise in the public highways. Revocation of this certificate deprives him of no vested right. Little reflection is necessary to show that the certificate of public convenience is granted with so many strings attached. New and additional burdens, alteration of the certificate, and even revocation or annulment thereof is reserved to the State.”
Applying the above-cited decision in your situation, the CPC issued to you is neither a franchise nor contract, it confers no property right but a mere license or privilege. Thus, when the state would revoke such certificate, no vested right or property right would be deprived from the holder of the CPC.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com