Court of Appeals upholds auction of Pantranco buses to rival firmsBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals has junked for lack of merit the petition of three bus companies seeking to nullify the order of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), which allowed the sale of the franchise of the defunct Pantranco North Express Inc. to rival bus firms.
In throwing out the petition for a temporary restraining order, the appellate court said the petitioners failed to support their claim that they would “suffer grave injustice” if the LTFRB allowed the sale of the Pantranco franchise.
The petition was filed by the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines Inc., Genesis Transport Service Inc. and Pangasinan Solid North Transit Inc., which asked the court to void the LTFRB’s May 21 resolution that allowed the public auction of the Pantranco franchise to its retrenched employees.
“In the case at bar, there is no showing that the matter is of extreme urgency and that the petitioners will suffer grave injustice or sustain injury beyond possibility of repair or beyond possible compensation in damages,” the court said in its June 28 ruling.
“Wherefore, the petitioners’ application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction is hereby denied,” it added.
The Pantranco Retrenched Employees Association (Panrea) and the Pantranco Employees Association (PEA) welcomed the appeals court’s ruling, saying it was an affirmation of the previous orders of the National Labor Relations Commission and the Supreme Court, which granted their labor claims against Pantranco.
They stressed that the sale of the Pantranco franchise to the Hernandez family, which owns Victory Liner, Luzon Cisco Transport, Bataan Transit, First North Luzon Bus Co. and Pangasinan Five Star, was intended to settle the back wages, separation pay and other financial obligations of the closed bus company to its former workers.
By dismissing the bus owners’ petition, Panrea and PEA said the court also recognized that the franchises for the 489 bus units, which they sold to the Hernandez family “were still valid and were not expired” as alleged by Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas.
“The CPCs (certificates of public convenience) did not expire (when) the bus firm closed due to bankruptcy in 1993. Thus, the CPCs were also legally and validly levied and auctioned,” the groups said.
“Franchise verification documents will show that these franchises were listed as active by no less than the LTFRB itself,” they added.
In allowing the agreement between the two labor unions and the Hernandez family, Panrea and PEA said the LTFRB “merely enforced the constitutional mandate to give protection to labor, as well as the social justice clause, when it affirmed the application of the labor unions with respect to the sale.”
“The crux of the entire issue is the proper satisfaction of the claims of the members of the unions,” they said.
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Tags: buses , Business , courts , Genesis Transport Service Inc. and Pangasinan Solid North Transit Inc. , litigation , Pantranco North Express Inc. , Pantranco Retrenched Employees Association (Panrea) and the Pantranco Employees Association (PEA)- , Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines Inc. , public transportation franchises , trials