Pasay court rejects SM Prime bid for TRO on MRT-LRT common station

Lawrence Agcaoili, Marianne V. Go - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied SM Prime Holdings Inc.’s (SMPHI) petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would have prevented the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) from “performing acts inconsistent with the terms of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) dated Sept. 29, 2009 for the construction of the LRT1-MRT3 and MRT7 common station in front of SM City North Edsa.”

According to SM Prime legal counsel Ryan San Juan, the Pasay RTC decision is “regrettable” and that SM Prime intends to pursue its case.

“To be clear, the TRO is merely an incident to the main case for Specific Performance. Trial on the main case will continue. DOTC has asked for an extension of time to file their answer,” he said.

“SM Prime will now focus on its main and more important case for specific performance, where it seeks to enforce its rights under the valid and legally binding MOA, the existence of which has been duly admitted by both DOTC and LRTA in court, and which MOA has neither been cancelled or terminated by the parties.”


SM Prime is questioning the decision of the DOTC and LRTA to renege on an earlier agreement that would locate the LRT1-MRT3-MRT7 common station in SM North Edsa.

SM Prime had paid P200 million to assist in the construction of the common station as well as for naming rights.

Instead, the DOTC-LRTA decided to locate the common station at the Ayala-owned TriNoma Mall   following  technical evaluation that the station would be better  located at that area.

Reacting to the current dispute with  SM Prime over the common station,  Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) president Bobby Dy told The STAR that there appears to be  a misperception that the Ayala Group is trying to wrestle the project away from the SM Group.

On the contrary, Dy said the Ayala Group was initially approached by the LRTA consultant for the LRT1 North Extension- MetroLink JV, as far back as Aug.  13, 2007 for a North Terminal station of the LRT1 at TriNoma.

The Ayala Group, through a letter dated Sept. 4, 2007  by the  North Triangle Depot Commercial Corp. (NTDCC)  to the LRTA, expressed agreement to the proposed location of the terminal station of the LRT1 North Extension project at TriNoma.

The LRTA acknowledged the NTDCC letter in March 14, 2009, whereby LRTA expressed appreciation for the agreement of the NTDCC to the location of the station at TriNoma.

However, Dy said that on March 30, 2009, the Ayala Group was surprised by an LRTA letter instructing MetroLink JV to stop work on the TriNoma LRT1 station and to transfer the location to SM North Edsa.

On April 15, 2009, MetroLink JV wrote a letter to contractors of LRT1 North Extension Project to cease work on the TriNoma LRT1 station and transfer the location of the station to SM North Edsa.

Dy stressed that the Ayala Group was approached first for the station and was surprised by the announcement that the SM Group had entered into an agreement with the DOTC-LRTA regarding the planned station.

He added that the Ayala Group is relying on technical experts to decide on the best location for the common station.

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