The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) sees no more legal stumbling block to the implementation of the Skyway connector toll road project spearheaded by the San Miguel-Citra alliance.
Addressing the latest concerns raised by the Department of Finance on the draft concession framework or supplemental toll operation agreement (STOA), Transportation Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla issued a 15-page memorandum dated April 9 saying there was “no more legal impediment to the implementation of the Stage 3 project.”
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), an agency under the DOTC, recently regained authority from Malacañang to enter into toll road concession contracts after a long-running legal debate with the Department of Public Works and Highways.
On the DOF’s call for a revision in order to exclude Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) as a party to the STOA, for instance, Lotilla said the PNCC as a property party to the deal has been confirmed by the government’s corporate counsel in several legal opinions. To date, however, the STOA has yet to be signed. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya was recently quoted as saying the abolition of PNCC was an option to speed up the connector road project.
In the DOTC memo obtained by the Inquirer, Lotilla said a “comprehensive legal due diligence was undertaken by TRB even before it acted on the submissions by Citra and PNCC for the Stage 3 project. Hence, it is clear that the legal apprehensions expressed by the DOF in its memorandum have been sufficiently traversed.”
“The TRB calibrated the submissions of the DOF, thoroughly studied and considered them and incorporated most of its suggestions in the STOA. More, policy matters raised by the DOF have been previously referred to the Office of the President,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum noted that the entire TRB membership—including the DOF—had “been given all the opportunities to review and submit suggestions on how to improve the STOA.”