Manibela leader denies raps over transport strike

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Manibela leader denies raps over transport strike
Members of Manibela stage a protest at the Office of the Ombudsman as they file a criminal case against Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista, Office of Transport Cooperative (OTC) Chairman Andy Ortega, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) members Teofilo Guadiz Jr., Engr. Liza Marie Paches, Atty. Mercy Jane Paras Leynes, and Atty. Robert Peig in relation to the controversies surrounding the jeepney modernization program on February 7, 2024.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Manibela president Mar Valbuena yesterday denied violating any laws during a strike conducted by the transport group after police filed criminal cases against him and one of his leaders before the Quezon City prosecutor’s office.

Valbuena maintained that the protest action in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) central office on June 10 was peaceful.

“The police could have arrested us if there were untoward incidents. There was no truth in the accusations against us. I vehemently denied that we violated laws during the protest,” he said.

Valbuena and Regie Manlapig were charged for alarm, scandal, resistance and disobedience to persons in authority.

Valbuena denied that the transport strike was the cause of the monstrous traffic from the Quezon City Memorial Circle to East Avenue on June 10.

“Before 11 a.m. (of June 10) both sides of East Avenue were passable. We were still there during the heavy downpour, but nobody from the police got wet. We did not do anything unlawful,” he said.

The protest action in front of the LTFRB was part of Manibela’s three-day transport strike to press the government to allow unconsolidated public utility jeepneys (PUJs) to operate for one year.

The LTFRB said the crackdown on colorum PUJs would continue after the three-month extension for the consolidation ended on April 30.

Members of Manibela and Pagkakaisa ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide have asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program.

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