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SM bid for TRO on rail station nixed

But conglomerate to continue legal challenge despite setback
/ 12:12 AM July 02, 2014

The Pasay City Regional Trial Court turned down the request of Henry Sy’s SM Prime Holding Inc. for a temporary restraining order (TRO) over the location of a railway common station in Quezon City, but the latter said the legal battle continues as it reiterated the government should honor their agreement five years ago.

The issue involves the transportation department’s decision to locate the common station, which would link Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1, near rival Ayala Land Inc.’s Trinoma shopping mall instead of SM City North Edsa, which SM Prime claimed was covered by an agreement in 2009.

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Both rail lines handle over a million passengers a day, thus making the stations and the commercial facilities connected to them, beneficiaries of this crucial foot traffic.

The court, in a June 23 order, said that SM Prime “failed to allege and establish that its application is a matter of extreme urgency involving a constitutional issue,” part of the order read.

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“Wherefore, the applications for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction are denied,” the court said.

With doubt being cast over the location, it is now uncertain what implications the filing may have on the P65-billion LRT Line 1 to Cavite public private partnership (PPP) given that the common station, whose location and operations were bundled with the project.

SM Prime’s request for a TRO to stop the implementation of the project was just a part of its suit and main case would continue, the company’s legal counsel, Ryan San Juan, said in a text message.

The suit was filed last month against the Department of Transportation and Communications and Light Rail Transit Authority.

“SM Prime will now focus on its main and more important case for specific performance, where it seeks to enforce its rights under the valid and legally binding memorandum of agreement (MOA), the existence of which has been duly admitted by both DOTC and LRTA in court, and which MOA has neither been cancelled or terminated by the parties,” San Juan said in a separate statement.

“SM Prime hopes that in the interim, DOTC and LRTA will respect the MOA and abide in good faith with all its terms and conditions, the same being the law between the parties under the pertinent laws on contracts, including the Civil Code of the Philippines,” he added.

SM Prime earlier scored the DOTC for its lack of transparency and its failure to honor a previous agreement while the transportation department defended the legality of its decision, adding that a location in Trinoma was more advantageous to commuters.

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TAGS: Business, court case, lrt common station, SM Prime Holdings, temporary restraining order
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