CA lifts LTFRB suspension order vs bus company
Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is studying its legal options following the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) lifting the suspension order on bus firm GV Florida for the fatal Bontoc, Mt. Province accident last Feb. 7.

“There are still legal remedies for our agency,” LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said.

“We just want to make it clear to the Filipino people, particularly the commuting public, that our mandate is to assure our commuters a safe and reliable mode of land transportation,” he said.

The CA has ordered the lifting of the suspension on 186 buses of GV Florida.

The bus involved in the Bontoc accident that left 14 people dead initially belonged to Dagupan Bus Co. and was bought by GV Florida. It used a franchise of Mt. Province Cable Tours sold to GV Florida.

For the unauthorized purchase of the Mt. Province Cable Tours franchise and the unauthorized use of the bus registered to Dagupan Bus Co., the LTFRB earlier had ordered the six-month suspension starting March 11 of the 28 franchises – covering 186 buses – originally held by GV Florida.

The LTFRB said GV Florida committed violations of the Public Service Code.

The agency also cancelled the franchise covering 10 buses – including the ill-fated unit – bought by GV Florida from Mt. Province Cable Tours.

In its 18-page decision, the CA’s 14th Division, however, said the LTFRB committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued an “illegal” order “without any factual and legal bases” suspending GV Florida’s 28 certificates of public convenience “in the absence of a violation or wrong committed.”

It added that the penalty was “grossly disproportionate” as the bus firm committed no franchise violation to warrant the grounding of its 186 buses.

“It is at once clearly and glaringly apparent that Florida was penalized for a non-existing violation… What is more, the LTFRB itself found Florida to have substantially complied with the conditions… when it imposed the preventive suspension order,” the CA said.

The appellate court referred to conditions such as inspection and roadworthiness of all GV Florida buses, road safety seminar and compulsory drug testing for its drivers and conductors, submission of certificates of registration and the latest land transportation official receipts of all its buses, and the names of its drivers and conductors.

The CA though sustained the cancellation of the franchise which GV Florida bought from Mt. Province Cable Tours and which the ill-fated bus used.  

Ginez said they have yet to get a copy of the appellate court’s ruling. – With Charlie Lagasca, Raymund Catindig

               

 

BONTOC BUS COURT OF APPEALS DAGUPAN BUS CO FLORIDA LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD MT. PROVINCE MT. PROVINCE CABLE TOURS PUBLIC SERVICE CODE
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