In this Dec. 22, 2019 photo, thousands of Angkas riders gather to protest the 10,000-rider cap imposed on the company by LTFRB.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Guevarra: Persona non grata reso vs Angkas owner 'non-binding' but executive branch may consider it
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 23, 2020 - 12:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s resolution seeking to declare Angeline Xiwen Tham of Angkas as persona non grata is “non-binding” but may be considered by the executive branch.

Guevarra told reporters in a text message that a “legislative resolution, in general, merely expresses a sentiment and is usually intended to influence executive action.”

Pimentel filed Senate Resolution 287 last week to have Tham, a Singaporean national who initially owned 99.9% of Angkas, declared as persona non grata in the Philippines.

The resolution was reported only Wednesday night.

Guevarra explained: “In the case of a resolution seeking to declare an alien as persona non grata, it is the president or the Department of Foreign Affairs who has the sole authority to make such declaration.”

"There must be a formal declaration (persona non grata) first by the president or the DFA," the Justice secretary added.

He, however, said the Bureau of Immigration may bar foreign nationals from entering the country based on other reasons, other than being declared as persona non grata.

The Justice secretary, however, stressed that the Senate resolution, while non-binding, will be given "utmost respect and consideration" by the executive branch as a co-equal branch of government.

"The Executive deparment will give much weight to the Senate resolution, once approved," he added.

Pimentel resolution

In the same resolution, Pimentel called for a legislative inquiry into the “high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible acts of Tham “to prevent a repeat of the same by similarly minded individuals.”

“Her acts of deriding our sovereign laws is high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible, which should not be countenanced but condemned to the fullest,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel noted in the resolution that Tham appears to own 99.996% of Angkas, citing documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Constitution sets a limit of foreign ownership of public utilities, which include transportation, to 40%.

In a press conference early in January, Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca was quoted in reports as saying that the company has “made necessary steps to correct” the foreign ownership issue of Angkas.

“I’m here before you saying on record that I own 60%,” Royeca reportedly said.

JoyRide and Pimentel

The senator also noted the January 3 press conference of Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection, supposedly organized by Geiser-Maclang that also acts as Angkas’ PR agency, where they “accused the [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] and other officials of anomalies in the selection of other players to be allowed to participate in the extension of the pilot implementation.”

“Everything that was said in that press conference echoed the same statements made by Angkas,” Pimentel said.

One of the two other motorcycle taxi companies included in the pilot testing of motorcycle taxi services is JoyRide.

Pimentel endorsed JoyRide to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, but Transport Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said the senator’s letter had no impact in the selection of players.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 22, 2020 - 10:36pm

The Transport Network Vehicle Service community of ridesharing companies holds a noise barrage in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to air grievances.

Around 200 vehicles honked their horns in front of the LTFRB to ask for the return of the P2-per-minute charge, GMA News reports.

LTFRB had questioned Grab for imposing a P2-per-minute charge on its passengers and slapped a P10 million fine against the ride-hailing service firm last July.

Grab had also urged the LTFRB to increase the TNVS common supply base in Metro Manila from 65,000 to 80,500 to address passenger demand.

January 22, 2020 - 10:36pm

Sen. Koko Pimentel is seeking a probe into the "high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible acts" of Angeline Tham, a Singaporean national whom he claims owns 99.9% of motorcycle hailing company Angkas.

It was Pimentel who endorsed JoyRide, a competitor of Angkas, in September 2019 to Transportation Secretary Tugade purportedly to end the Angkas' "monopoly." The Philippine Competition Commission, however, had said that Angkas is not a monopoly like Grab is in the market. (With report from The STAR/Paolo Romero)

January 20, 2020 - 10:07am

Motorcycle taxis will no longer be allowed to operate "maybe a week from now" after the Department of Transportation Technical Working Group announces termination of its study on motorcycle taxi services.

"We just submitted the report to Congress, to the committee on transportation," DOTr-TWG's Antonio Gardiola Jr. tells reporters.


December 23, 2019 - 8:18pm

The Motorcycle Taxi technical working group on Monday evening accused ride-hailing app Angkas of making a public spectacle and "[resorting] to emotional blackmail" over a 10,000-rider cap that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has imposed on motorcycle taxi firms.

In an open letter posted on the Department of Transportation's social media accounts, the TWG disputed Angkas' statement last Saturday that 17,000 of its 27,000 riders would lose their jobs because of the cap.

December 22, 2019 - 9:51am

Angkas bikers are holding a protest along White Plains Avenue near EDSA in Quezon City against the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's decision to cap their authorized riders to 10,000 from 27,000.

Angkas will be sharing an allotment of 39,000 riders with new players JoyRide and MoveIt in 2020.

December 21, 2019 - 10:26am

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has decreased the number of Angkas bikers allowed to operate on the road in 2020 to 10,000 from 27,000, the motorcycle taxi firm says.

This will mean a harder time for passengers trying to book rides on the service, which many use as an alternative to commuting and to more expensive services like Grab.

It is also, Angkas points out, "a direct blow to over 17,000 Filipino families."


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