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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

Supreme Court
Manila

Bayan Muna Rep. NERI JAVIER


COLMENARES, Bayan Muna Rep.
CARLOS ISAGANI ZARATE, MR.
ANTHONY IAN CRUZ, MS.
IMELDA V. LUNA, and MR.
CARL ANTHONY ALA
Petitioners,
- versus G.R. No.
For: CERTIORARI and
PROHIBITION under
Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court with application
for
a
Temporary
Restraining
Order
(TRO) and/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction.

JOSE EMILIO ABAYA, in his


capacity as the Secretary of the
Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC), RENATO
Z. SAN JOSE, in his capacity as the
Officer-in-Charge of the Metro Rail
Transit 3 Office, and Light Rail
Transit Authority Administrator
HONORITO CHANECO
Respondents.
x--------------------------------------------x

PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION


with application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction

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PETITIONERS, by counsel, respectfully apply for judicial review through


the prerogative writs of certiorari, prohibition with prayer for a temporary
restraining order and injunction, of the Department Order No. 2014-14 of the
respondent Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), which
increased by almost double the present rates the fares for the light rail transit
system, and state:

PREFATORY
Malacaang is taking the people for a ride. This cannot be allowed.
Public transport is a form of social investment, providing needy and
mobility disadvantaged residents with vital access to jobs, medical care,
schools, retail outlets, and other essential destinations.
Rather than attaching a monetary value to transportation improvements,
cost-effectiveness measures might be used instead. A cost-effectiveness metric
might express the number of additional jobs that can be reached within onehalf hour travel time per million dollar expenditure.
Currently there are more than 6,400 providers of public and community
transportation offering Americans freedom, opportunity and the choice to
travel by means other than a car. Investments in our nations public
transportation infrastructure are paying off, with many communitieslarge
and smallexpanding and modernizing their systems.
The benefits and importance of public transportation impact everyone, even
those who may never board a train or bus, and Americans understand its
valueso much so that people are willing to tax themselves, if needed, to
expand public transportation services. In recent years, voters around the
country overwhelmingly passed local public transportation ballot measures.
Public transportation is critical to our nations transportation system and is
essential to the economic and social quality of life of our citizens.
(American Public Transportation Association--2007)

Without fail, everyday save holidays, starting at 6:30 oclock in the morning,
this story of hardship begins at the light rail transit.
Streams of humanity flood in long queues under the sweltering heat of the
morning sun or the merciless drench of sweat or rain. They fill every space that
leads yet to the next level of packed enclosures, the overcrowded stations and
coaches. From start to finish, there is an exhibition of extreme human closeness.
With steps coming in trickles, passengers get to rub not just elbows but arms, legs
and torsos, and if it were literally possible, potentially to exchange faces with any
of the several hundreds behind, in front, or at the sides.

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And, when lucky enough to be pushed, oftentimes hurled, onwards into an


accidental empty spot, and to begin the ride with thousand others equally fortunate,
the train conks out or the tracks skewers. Just as luck turns to misfortune and the
announcements of stops by their station names change to apologies for the already
ubiquitous technical problems, everyone begins hopping out of the coaches and
marching in a long single file towards the already swarming next or preceding
stop.
Eventually the passengers get to where they want to be, better late than
never, better sweaty and smelly than jobless or forgive the callousness, maybe
injured, or worse, dead.
For this petition, the light rail transit consists of the LRT1, LRT2, and the
MRT.

The photo herein depicts an MRT train that derailed a few months back.1
The MRT ownership structure is as confusing as it is un-transparent, and the
project remains as the most appropriate model of what is wrong with privatization.
While wanting to scrimp and save public funds by charging increased rates on the
public it persists in generously splurging peoples money on the onerous MRT
contract to pay its private concessionaires.
On the other hand, the LRT1 and the LRT2 are owned by the government
and the public. They are earning well at present fare rates. Yet the government
1

Image from Philstar.com at http://www.philstar.com/nation/2014/08/13/1357168/passengers-hurtstranded-train-overshoots-mrt-station (last accessed Jan. 5, 2015)

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wants the LRT1 and LRT2 privatized as in fact contracts have been perfected for
this purpose. This is thus the curious state of affairs: the government wants to
nationalize the MRT promising efficiency under government ownership, and to
privatize the already earning and better managed publicly owned LRT1 and LRT2.
This petitions challenge to the fare hikes, as presently mandated by the
DOTC, cannot be fully understood without reference to the right to due process
through two lenses: first, the lens of procedural fairness and second, the lens of
unconscionable undermining of public interest, specifically the context of the
respondents manifest partiality towards protecting the interests of private investors
at the expense of public interest.
A full understanding of this public grievance can be achieved only if the first
and the second lenses are not treated disparately and distinctly but together in a
contextual analysis under the overarching disparities between the public and
private investments in the MRT and the LRT1 and LRT2. In the MRT, the public
investments total no less than P215,133,000,000 while the private exposure was
only P8,360,000,000.00. The same magnitude of indifference between public and
private investments afflicts the LRT1 and the LRT2.
The relevance of the disproportionate contributions to the light rail transit to
the assailed fare hikes cannot be ignored, discounted or set aside. While the
respondents list three reasons for the increases, it appears so much more on the
balance of probabilities that the doubling of the fare rates was imposed to finance
the returns or profits guaranteed to the private investors.
Logically, as argued below, this petition bewails the fact that respondents are
afraid of challenging the legality and validity of the onerous MRT contract which
has drained public funds in the billions but have no qualms in imposing rate hikes
on the people, ostensibly in order to save public funds from being drained! The
respondents are steep in maximizing the commercial ventures of the private
investors in the LRT project that they can no longer see clearly and impartially
through the factors of public interest, social justice, ability to pay, and every public
services template of safety and comfort. In fact, the respondents have announced
that only a restraining order from this Court could stop them from implementing
the fare hikes and that they are standing firm on their decision to enforce the
increases. These pronouncements all the more prove that they have closed their
minds on any contrary reasoning or arguments and will only stand by their set of
justifications, or in a word, bias against stance of the petitioners.
The disparity also highlights the prejudicial effects of both the outright lack
of notice and hearing and the absence of meaningful notice and hearing, prior to
the imposition of the fare increases. There was thus the total inability on the part of
the public, including the petitioners, to adequately contest the fare hikes amidst the
willingness and ability of the respondents to pay the private investors their
unconscionable profits or returns. The fare increases are not just financial burdens
on the public. They are an insult as well since they poke finger into eye that a

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handful of others is able still to outsmart, outprofit and bilk the already
impoverished public.
Even worse are grounds that the respondents have propounded to justify the
fare hikes. The grounds are not only irrelevant and illegal but also improper and
indecent. The respondents effectively pin the blame on the people as to why these
increases are necessary users must pay the value for the services they seek; the
subsidies for the light rail system deprive others of more beneficial projects; other
commuters are made subject to fare indexes provided by the Land Transportation
and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
But the overarching disproportion between returns and investments, as well
as public investments and private exposures, both depicting the profits earned by
the private investors despite a measly investment, plainly refute the grounds that
the respondents peddle. It is not the subsidies and the present fare rates that render
life miserable for the Filipinos but the inordinate greed of the private investors, the
mismanagement by the government, including the respondents, and the conspiracy
between them to do all these combined.
Last, this petition refers to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
This is necessary because the respondents want to do away with an appropriation
or budget item that is meant to address the fare hikes despite Congress intent to do
so. Will the respondents and the government use this funding authorization to pay
for some other initiatives even at the expense of what Congress has already
deliberated upon? The mere fact that the respondents are inclined towards
impounding, and potentially saving the amounts authorized to be expended,
leads by pattern, scheme and experience to the DAP-idizing thereof to whereabouts
unknown. This is a frightening scenario because it totally takes for granted the
publics dignity as persons worthy of public service and the dealings with them to
be consummated in good faith, transparency and accountability. Crassly stated,
what the government proposes to do by means of the fare increases is to oblige the
people to pay for what eventually will be stolen from them.
The opaqueness in the process and the outcomes, and the impunity by which
it is re-told several times over, must stop. The respondents and this scheme,
whoever does it, must be stopped for good.

PARTIES
The petitioners are Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, Rep.
Carlos Isagani Zarate, Mr. Anthony Ian Cruz, Ms. Imelda V. Luna and Mr.
Carl Anthony Ala as CITIZENS, TAXPAYERS, and COMMUTERS. They are
initiating this suit for certiorari and prohibition, to quash Department Order No.
2014-14, and prohibit the respondents from implementing this Department Order.

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The petitioners can be reached through their counsel-of-record, Atty. Manja


Bayang and Atty. Maria Cristina Yambot at No. 45 K-7th St., Bgy. West
Kamias, Quezon City.
The respondents are Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya in his capacity as head of
the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) which issued the
assailed Order, Mr. Honorito Chaneco in his capacity as Administrator of LRTA
which will implement the said Order in LRT Lines 1 and 2, and Mr. Renato Z.
San Jose in his capacity as Officer in Charge of the amorphous Metro Rail Transit
3 Office, which will implement the assailed Order in MRT Line 3.
The respondents may be served this Courts processes at the following
addresses:
1. Sec. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya
Secretary (DOTC)
The Columbia Tower, Brgy. Wack-wack, Ortigas Avenue
1555 Mandaluyong City
2. Mr. Honorito D. Chaneco
Office of the Administrator
Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA)
Administration Building, LRTA Compound, Aurora Boulevard,
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
3. Renato Z. San Jose
Officer-in-Charge
MRT Line 3 Office
DOTC MRT3 Office, North Ave. cor EDSA
Bgy. Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City

NATURE OF THE PETITION


This is an original action for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with an application for the issuance of a Writ of
Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) seeking:
1.
To ANNUL and SET ASIDE Department Order No. 2014-014
dated December 18, 2014 issued by the Respondent Jose Emilio Abaya in his
capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication
(DOTC) imposing fare hikes in LRT Lines 1 and 2 and MRT Line 3 under the
Uniform Distance-Based Fare Scheme. A Certified True Copy of the department
order is attached as Annex A.

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2.
To permanently ENJOIN the respondents from implementing the fare
hikes in Department Order 2014-014.
3.
The issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a writ of
preliminary injunction, restraining and/or enjoining the Respondents from
implementing the assailed DOTC Department Order 2014-014.
Herein petition is filed as a remedy against respondents imposition of the
fare hikes through DOTC DO 2014-014 which was invalidly issued and
promulgated by DOTC with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction. The petitioners have no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law, which will promptly relieve them and the public from the
injurious effects thereof.
The issues raised in this petition call for urgent action at the highest level
indeed the timing of the Department Order is one that pre-empts public opposition;
public interest is compromised by the Department Order; the latter is patently
illegal and issued without jurisdiction. Further, there is no motion for
reconsideration or statutory appeal from the Department Order.
In fact, petitioners alleged that while respondents have known and have
decided to increase the fares by January of 2015, they deviously timed its
publication during the period of Christmas festivities and timed its implementation
on the first Sunday of the year precisely to deny the public of an effective remedy
against the rate hike.
In any event, even if there were, the respondents themselves have foreclosed
other means of challenging the fare increases because they already maintained that
only a court order can halt the implementation of the Department Order.2 As
explained below, this Court is the proper forum for the gargantuan grievance
alleged in this petition.
TIMELINESS
The assailed Department Order No. 2014-14 of the Department of
Transportation and Communications (DOTC) was published on December 20,
2014. The filing of this petition falls within sixty days from the date of publication.

FORUM
This Court is the proper forum for the instant petition.
2

Palace
Stands
Firm
on
MRT,
LRT
Fare
Hikes,
GMA
News
Online
at
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/394446/economy/business/palace-stands-firm-on-mrt-lrt-fare-hikes,
last accessed on January 4, 2015; Only TRO Can Stop MRT, LRT Fare Hike, Philstar.com at
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/12/28/1407147/only-tro-can-stop-mrt-lrt-fare-hike, last accessed on
January 4, 2015.

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Dy v. Bibat-Palamos, G.R. No. 196200, September 11, 2013, held:


Nonetheless, the invocation of this Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of
certiorari has been allowed in certain instances on the ground of special and
important reasons clearly stated in the petition, such as, (1) when dictated by the
public welfare and the advancement of public policy; (2) when demanded by the
broader interest of justice; (3) when the challenged orders were patent nullities; or
(4) when analogous exceptional and compelling circumstances called for and
justified the immediate and direct handling of the case.
This petition involves the interests of the riding public of Metro Manilas
light railway system. They number about 1.5 to 2 million people or more every
day. The passengers include the herein petitioners either as regular, or occasional
riders. Two million is fairly close to the average population of a country in Europe.
They represent bodies and souls enough to populate many states in North or South
America or Trans Tasman. When nearly 2 million are affected adversely, public
welfare and public policy are necessarily implicated. Besides, the Department
Order No. 2014-014 is a patent nullity and represents an appalling exercise of a
phantom power by the DOTC which by itself is exceptional in gall and compelling
in urgency.
This Honorable Court is again being asked to intervene in a public interest
issue. In terms of prudence, the present situation is awash with caution and urgency
because of the respondents timing in enforcing the fare hikes. The petitioners have
to take action and bring the legal battle where the stakes are higher in terms of the
vertical levels of power and authorities involved and greater in terms of the scope
of the outcomes influence. This Court has constantly and consistently met the
moment in this countrys history of fledgling rule of justice.
It cannot do otherwise now. There should thus be no doubt that this
Court is the appropriate and significant forum.

STANDING
The petitioners have standing under the normal rules of standing and public
interest standing.
Under the former, the respondents collective interference with the public
right against illegal, incorrect, unreasonable, and biased administrative procedure
and outcome, specifically on the matter of the light rail transit fare hikes, has
infringed each of the petitioners right to be treated fairly and to be accorded due
observance of the rule of law. The petitioners have also suffered damage and
prejudice arising from the respondents assailed actions and deliberate inactions.
As tax payers and citizens they are concerned with the spending of public funds
and considering social and economic impact of public transport, are affected by the

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assailed Order of respondents. There is nexus or directness and causal relationship


between the respondents conduct and the petitioners injury in the form of either
their violated private right or their damage or prejudice.
Please note whether the petitioners are regular MRT/LRT commuters or
occasional commuters, they deserve to pay only for fares that have passed through
the proper procedures. Without the proper procedures, they pay fares arrived at in a
manner that violates their rights to due process, and to the extent that they have to
do so, they suffer damage and prejudice. The fact that they share the same
grievance with others does not make them less of a person deserving a standing to
seek judicial relief. They have rights that have been infringed by the respondents
action and inaction, and this is all that normal rules of standing require.
The issues raised in this suit are justiciable and serious ones. They center on
assertions that the respondents have conducted themselves illegally, and
improperly, that this Court may assess not in terms of policy context and
implications but in terms of the respondents duty to follow the relevant statutes
and constitutional provisions and to act with decency, good faith, and obedience to
the principles of what is legal, just and reasonable.
The petitioners have genuine interest in the issues raised. The petitioners are
part of the light rail systems commuting public. The petitioners are part of a
network of activists who have to the present compelled the government to a
dialogue on its otherwise inscrutable actions. This Court may refer to many of its
decisions where the petitioners actively prosecuted, and in some if not most of
them won on the merits of, the cases brought by them.
Given the timing of the issuance and publication of the assailed Department
Order, it was difficult for the public including the petitioners to take the
respondents to task for their illegal, incorrect, unreasonable, and biased procedure
and decision.
As in previous cases initiated by the petitioners, the instant case does not
compromise scarce judicial resources. The petitioners history have shown that
they are not mere kibitzers or busybodies. This Court may also be assured that the
determination of the issues raised in this petition is informed by the views and
submissions of the litigants who are most directly affected by such issues.

FACTS
The facts appear deceptively simple:
LRTA was originally created as a government owned and controlled
corporation by then President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, under the virtue of E.O 603. Its
primary mandate then was to determine policies, to the regulation and fixing of
fares, and to the planning of the extensions of the system. Further amendments of

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E.O 603 ( E.O 830 in September 1982 and E.O 210 in July 1987) expanded LRTAs
role as a government owned and controlled corporation primarily responsible for the
construction, operation/maintenance and lease of light rail transit systems in the
Philippines.
Before the commencement of its first rail project, the LRT 1, LRTA, after a
bidding process, entered into a ten-year Agreement for Management and Operation
of the Metro Manila Light Rail Transit System with then Metro Transit
Organization, Inc. or METRO, from June 8 1984 until June 8 1994. But by 1989,
LRTA already bought out METRO. But due to the recurrent perils of privatizing a
public transit, LRTA decided not to renew its 16-year Management and Operation
with METRO, Inc., on July 31, 2000.
Since then, the LRT-1 system has been doing quite fine, under the full control
of the Government. In fact, in 2013, LRTA achieved a 97 percent Performance
Scorecard, indicating its efficiency and effectiveness as a government corporation.
The MRT 3 Line on the other hand was built as a result of a BLT Agreement
with private concessionaire MRTC in 1997 who undertook to maintain the system.
Respondent MRT 3 Office is in charge of operating the system with the obligation of
paying MRTC monthly rental until 2025.
According to DOTC during the plenary presentation in the House of
Representatives of the DOTC budget in 2013, the total project cost of MRT 3 was
P28 Billion of which the private concessionaire only provided about P7 Billion in
equity while the rest of the project cost was funded through loans. In the same
presentation, Respondent DOTC admitted that MRT 3 earned P2.1 Billion as annual
revenues from the fares paid by the commuters and spent P1.8 Billion in operating
costs which means that MRT 3 earned more than P200 Million for that year.
The DOTC passed Department Order No. 2014-014 on December 18, 2014
and published it on December 20, 2014. This regulation increased by almost
double the present fare schedules at the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 and the
Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
The Department Order justified the fare increase as follows:
Pursuant to the Medium-Term Development Plan (20112016), which directs the application of the user-pays principle
in transportation service pricing, the Department is adopting a
uniform distance-based fare scheme for the Light Rail Transit
(LRT) Lines 1 and 2, and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3.
It is envisioned that this fare scheme will result in an
equitable distribution of government funds currently dedicated to
subsidizing the operations of the above rail lines in Metro Manila

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to much-needed development projects and relief operations in


other parts of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
The distance-based fare scheme will be adopted using the
PhP11.00 (base-fare) + PhP1.00 (per kilometer) formula in
accordance with: (1) the Board Resolution of the Light Rail
Transit Authority with the concurrence of the Land
Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board, and (2) the
recommendation of the MRT-3 Office.
Attached herewith and made an integral part of this
Department Order are the following annexes:
Annex A Revised LRT-1 Stored Value Fare Matrix
Annex B Revised LRT-1 Single Journey Fare Matrix
Annex C Revised LRT-2 Stored Value Fare Matrix
Annex D Revised LRT-2 Single Journey Fare Matrix
Annex E Revised MRT-3 Fare Matrix
All previous Orders, Memoranda, and Issuances
inconsistent herewith are deemed superseded and/or revoked
accordingly.
This Order shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its
publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
This Department Order was signed by the Secretary of the DOTC.
It must be noted that the Order stated that the hikes aim to lessen the already
mass transport subsidy (already appropriated in the national budget) amounting to
P2 billion and realign these savings to development projects and relief operations
outside of Metro Manila.
In a later pronouncement, Respondent Sec. Abaya stated that the fare hike for
both the MRT and the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 will be spent on their
rehabilitation and will result in improved services for the railway systems, which
have long been plagued by glitches and breakdowns.
On December 28, 2014, Respondent Sec. Abaya again changed the purpose of
the hike and admitted that the estimated P1 Billion additional income the agency
will collect annually from increasing the MRT fare will go to the escrow account set
aside for the payment of the government's monthly dues to the MRT Corporation
under the build-lease-transfer agreement. Respondent Sec. Abaya explained that the
income collected from MRT-3's operations is deposited in the escrow account as per
the government's agreement with the railway line's private owner while the monthly
payment to the MRTC is short by around P600 Million.

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In the 2015 and the supplemental budget, MRT and LRT were provided of at
least P16.588 Billion, consisting of the following:
LRTA Projects
LRT1 North Extension (Common Station)-P 769,809,000.00
LRT2 West Extension - P200,000,000
LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension (foreign-assisted) P1, 157, 334, 000
LRT Line 2 East Extension Project (foreign-assisted) 2, 400, 000, 000
MRT 3 Subsidy
Mass Transport Subsidy (MRT 3) -P4,657,504,000
Operation and Maintenance of MRT 1, 922, 190, 000
Other Appropriations
Repair/ Rehabilitation of LRT Lines 1 and 2 - P977,690,000
MRT3 Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion -P2,569,200,000
MRT 3 Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion (Supplemental Budget) P957,163,000
LRT 1 and 2 Rehabilitation (Supplemental Budget) - P977,690,000

The said budgetary allocations contained identical items and amounts in


both the 2015 GAA and the 2014 Supplemental Budget notably the P 977,690,000
for LRT Lines 1 and 2 Rehabilitation. The same similarities are found in the
funding for the MRT 3 Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion in both the 2015
GAA and the 2014 Supplemental Budget.
MRT Subsidy for 2015 amounts to almost P6.6 Billion (Mass transport
subsidy as well as operations and maintenance). LRTA Projects meanwhile, is
provided with a P4.5 Billion appropriation. Rehabilitation and Capacity activities
were likewise appropriated P 5.48 Billion in both the GAA and Supplemental
Budget.
Petitioner Colmenares then asked DOTC where these funds will go since the
revenues incurred from the fare hike will be supposedly used for the improvement
of the three lines.
This means that the Government has enough public funds to sustain and
develop the line, thereby making the fare hike and its justifications, greatly
irrelevant and deceitful.
Truly, equity rental payments for MRT 3 supposedly constitute a great
amount of expense for the Governmentnot actually. In December 2008,
Landbank and DBP were instructed to buyout 80 percent of MRTC bonds and
other instruments for future payments. This was even considered an anomalous
transaction, since both GFIs have to purchase these shares amounting to $778
Million (P33.4 Billion), which was overpriced at $178 Million. Supposedly, both

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GFIs should have unloaded the MRTC shares by June 2010 but, given the shift in
administration, decided to petition for a one-year extension of holding the MRTC
shares. But up until now, the Landbank and DBP still holds these shares. By
September 2010, both GFIs have earned $70 Million or P3.2 Billion. This income
came from 80 percent of the Equity Rental Payments paid by DOTC. Basically, it
is the Government itself whos accruing its own expenses. Yet, no one knows
where the collections of both GFIs are.
MRT 3 is not operating at a deficit, considering Government subsidy as
income, fare box revenues and non-rail collections and the ERPs received by LBP
and DBP, which in essence should be considered as income of the Government.

Schedule of Outstanding Payables to MRTC (US Dollars)


EQUITY
STAFFING
and
TOTAL
RENTAL
ADMIN
2013
129, 999, 996
500, 004
130, 500, 000
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
2025
TOTAL

139, 166, 670


140, 000, 004
144, 583, 330
144, 999, 996
144, 999, 996
144, 999, 996
149, 583, 333
150, 000, 000
150, 000, 000
150, 000, 000
150, 000, 000
12, 500, 000
1, 750, 833, 321

500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
500, 004
41, 667
6, 041, 715

139, 666, 674


140, 500, 008
145, 083, 334
145, 500, 000
145, 500, 000
145, 500, 000
150, 083, 337
150, 500, 004
150, 500, 004
150, 500, 004
150, 500, 004
12, 541, 667
1, 756, 875, 036

That, on September 26, 2013, during the last day of the House of
Representatives plenary deliberation on Budget, Petitioner Colmenares raised the
issue of notional fare to DOTC. DOTC admitted that time that the 11+1 formula is
included in the P65-billion LRTs privatization agreement, as, according to the
Ayala-MPIC consortium, the fare hike is a crucial bank requirement to lend the
consortium money to finance the project. In essence, its still public money that
will finance the project, yet it is the private investors who will mostly reap the
benefits.
That, there seems to be a double entry or appropriation for the
Rehabilitation/Repair of LRT 1 and 2 since by observing the 2015 GAA and the
Supplemental Budget, both entries have the same amount. In fact, during the
Committee deliberation for the Supplemental Budget, Respondent Sec. Abaya
committed to provide an explanation as to this issue on double entry, but up to
now, has failed to provide so.

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That, given the performance of LRT-1 and LRT-2 in terms of systems


management, maintenance and development, a fare adjustment would be
unjustifiable. In fact, in 2013, the LRT 1 and 2 earned P2.577 Billion in revenues,
with expenses totalling to only P1.03 Billion, thereby having a consolidated
farebox ratio of 1.16. This does not even include the subsidies given to both LRTA
lines (the revenues of LRT-1 even subsidize LRT-2).
Putting it in a larger context, a vast majority of mass transit commuters are
low to middle income earners and that every single centavo or peso they spend
poses a great value to their living conditions. The current fare hike is alien to such
consideration, since it devalues the prime consideration of social protection and
justice, devoid of any concept of public utility, and is thus loosely based on
distance travelled.
Not only do low income and minimum wage earners are affected adversely
Currently, stored value tickets are priced at P150 (discounted price is at P120).
According to Cervero, public transport is a form of social investment,
providing needy and mobility-disadvantaged residents with vital access to jobs,
medical care, schools, retail outlets, and other essential destinations. This means
that to devote a portion of public funds is not an investment per se, but rather to
boost human capital.
This just simply means that mobility should not be relegated as if it is just
another cost-benefit situation for the poor. It is primordially a State mandate to
ensure that every sectors of its population could maximize their contributions for
economic growth and development, and thereby reap and deserve its benefits.
The ability-to-pay approach treats government revenue and expenditures
separately.
Below is an article MRT-LRT Facts and Figures by Petitioner Anthony
Ian Cruz, published in the Manila Bulletin on October 10, 2014, containing a
straightforward summary of how much the Filipino people, both the riding public
in Metro Manila and the people in the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, in
whose innocent names the disrespectful attribution for the fare hikes have been
staked, have been bilked by the government and investors.
The numbers below explain why the government needs to raise the fares; it
also justifies the rage the petitioners feel about the fare hikes. The numbers reflect
unconscionable wealth taken to the already filthy rich from the sweaty and
bedraggled public, supposedly because this is what the law obliges each of us to
do:
If Malacaang, the DOTC, and the MRT Corp. would
have their way, we would be paying P28 instead of P15 for an

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MRT ride from North Avenue to Taft Avenue, or P32 instead of


P20 for an LRT ride from Baclaran to Roosevelt Avenue.
They not only imply but actually try to con us into
believing that fare increases would go to a better MRT-LRT
system.
If we really want better trains for Metro Manila, we need
to look back into the history, facts, and figures of the MRT and
LRT. Doing so would make us discover what works and what
doesnt, who owns, and whether fare hikes are really needed.
Here are some facts and figures:
$190 million: Total investment of the private consortium
MRT Corp. for the MRT, a build-lease-transfer project, from
1995-1997.
Seven: Number of companies involved in the MRT Corp.,
namely Fil-Estate, Ayala Land, Anglo Phil Holdings, Ramcar
Inc., Greenfield Development Corp., Antel Land Holdings, and
DBH Inc.
$488 million: Total loan obtained and paid for by the
Philippine government to complete the financing for the MRT
Corp.
15 percent: Total return of investment guaranteed by the
Philippine government to the MRT Corp. for 2000-2025.
$2.4 billion: DOTC estimate of the 15 percent return of
investment for 2000-2025.
$779 million: Total equity rental payments paid by the
Philippine government to the MRT Corp. from 2000-2013.
P100 million: Monthly payments made to Sumitomo, the
private company that managed the MRT for the first 10 years.
P685 million: Annual maintenance contract price paid to
private company APT Global for managing the MRT, under
whose contract the worst MRT accident happened.
P53 billion: Amount the Philippine government is willing
to spend to buy-back the MRT but ironically with the intent of
privatizing it again.

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P1.72 billion: Automated Fare Collection System bagged


by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
P1.4 billion: LRT-MRT Common Station Project, bagged
by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
P65 billion: LRT1 privatization and extension deal
bagged by the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium composed of Metro
Pacific (55 percent), Ayala (35 percent) and Macquire Holdings
of Australia (10 percent).
Negative P9.5 billion: Winning bid of the AyalaPangilinan consortium for the LRT1 privatization and extension
deal.
32 years: Duration of the LRT1 privatization and
expansion contract with the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
P64 billion: Total tax exemptions guaranteed by the
Philippine government to the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
P35 billion: Total additional cost to be shouldered by the
Philippine government for right of way, new coaches, LRT
coach depot improvements and LRT satellite coach depot
construction.
P5 billion: Subsidy guaranteed by the Philippine
government to the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
P500 million: Total amount guaranteed by the Philippine
government for a block account or a standby fund for use of
the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium.
10.25 percent: Rate of LRT1 fare increase guaranteed to
the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium every two years, aside from
inflation-based fare increase every four years and another five
percent rate increase when the LRT1 extension project is
completed
P32: Proposed new LRT fare for Baclaran-Roosevelt, up
from P20.
P28: Proposed new MRT fare for North Avenue-Taft
Avenue, up from P15. 3
3

"MRT-LRT Facts and Figures", Manila Bulletin at http://www.mb.com.ph/mrtlrt-facts-and-figures/ (last accessed Jan. 5, 2015)

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In tabular form, to stress the disparity in their respective contributions and


inversely the returns they each get, the taxpayers investments in the light rail
system vis-a-vis the private investors exposure are as follows:

Light Rail Transit


System
MRT

Taxpayers Investments

Private Investors
Investments
$488 million - total loans $190 million - total
obtained and paid for the investments
MRT
$2.4 billion - 15% return
on investment
$779 million - total equity
rental payments paid from
2000-2013.
P100 million - monthly
payments
made
to
Sumitomo, the private
company that managed the
MRT for the first 10 years
P685 million - annual
maintenance contract price
paid to APT Global for
managing now the MRT
P53 billion - proposed buy
out price for the MRT
Earnings
Advertising

LRT1 and LRT 2

from

Buy-Out of Securities
P64 billion: Total tax
exemptions guaranteed by
the Philippine government
to the Pangilinan-Ayala
consortium.
P35
billion:
additional cost

Total
to be

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shouldered
by
the
Philippine government for
right of way, new
coaches, LRT coach depot
improvements and LRT
satellite coach depot
construction.
P5
billion:
Subsidy
guaranteed
by
the
Philippine government to
the
Pangilinan-Ayala
consortium.
P500
million:
Total
amount guaranteed by the
Philippine government for
a block account or a
standby fund for use of
the
Pangilinan-Ayala
consortium.
10.25 percent: Rate of
LRT1
fare
increase
guaranteed
to
the
Pangilinan-Ayala
consortium every two
years,
aside
from
inflation-based
fare
increase every four years
and another five percent
rate increase when the
LRT1 extension project is
completed
P32: Proposed new
LRT
fare
for
Baclaran-Roosevelt,
up from P20.
P28: Proposed new
MRT fare for North
Avenue-Taft
Avenue, up from
P15.

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Hence:
From these facts and figures, we could get a couple of
conclusions:
One, the mix of government incompetence and sellout,
and the boundless greed of private sector consortiums has spelled
disaster, chaos, and frustration to everyone especially the
riders of the MRT.
Two, we have been bled dry through fares and Philippine
government payments to the MRT Corp. in exchange for the
horrible and pathetic MRT.
Three, it is absolutely disgusting that the government is
privatizing the better-managed, government-owned LRT and the
LRT expansion under terms that are grossly-disadvantageous to
commuters and all citizens.
Four, if the government has that much money to give and
guarantee to private consortiums, why privatize MRT in the first
place? If the government could run the LRT1 and LRT2 much
better than the MRT, why insist on privatizing the LRT1 and at
the most unfair terms?
Accepting the fare hike would be like saying yes to the
current situation of government incompetence and sellout and the
boundless greed of private consortiums. In the case of the MRT,
a fare hike would like rewarding the MRT Corp. and the DOTC
for our daily misery. In the case of the LRT, a fare hike would
be like rewarding the Pangilinan-Ayala consortium for getting a
highly irregular 32-year contractual bonanza.
Our choice is between daily, miserable Stations of the
Cross with heavier fares and heavier public debts only to make a
greedy few even richer, and a modern train system we all totally
deserve.4

GROUNDS
Herein Petition prays of this Honorable Court to declare DOTC Order 2014014 void and permanently enjoin the implementation of the rate hike contained in
the same on the following grounds:
4

Ibid.

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I. The Respondent DOTC has no jurisdiction to decide


on applications for rate hikes and issue orders implementing
said rate hikes as there is no law that confers Respondent such
jurisdiction.
II. Respondents committed grave abuse of discretion in
issuing DOTC Order 2014-014 on the ground that:
II.1 The assailed Order was issued in violation of
the right of the public to notice and hearing; and
II.2 The bases and the reasons for the rate hike
contained in DOTC Order 2014-014 are unreasonable
and unjustified.
II.3 The fare hike is oppressive to the low income
workers/commuters who comprise the largest number of
the passengers and is violative of the social justice
provision of the Constitution; government subsidy and
light rail fare rates must be based on the ability to pay of
the minimum wage earners.

DISCUSSION
I.

Lack of JurisdictionThe Respondent DOTC Secretary has no


jurisdiction to decide on the issue of rate hikes and issue orders
implementing said rate hikes as there is no law that confers
Respondent such jurisdiction.

The DOTC Secretary has no authority to regulate the fare schedules of the
light railway systems because there is no statute or law that confers it jurisdiction
to decide on rate increases.
Department Order No. 2014-014 was therefore issued by the DOTC
Secretary without jurisdiction. As such, following Maslag v. Monzon et al., G.R.
No. 174908, June 17, 2013, the Department Order is void and cannot be given
legal effect:
To reiterate, only statutes can confer jurisdiction. Court
issuances cannot seize or appropriate jurisdiction. It has been
repeatedly held that any judgment, order or resolution issued
without [jurisdiction] is void and cannot be given any effect. By
parity of reasoning, an order issued by a court declaring that it
has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of

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the case when under the law it has none cannot likewise be given
effect.
The statutory decision-making authority is not the Secretary of the DOTC to
exercise, especially since Respondent DOTC is an interested party in contracts
involving the MRT and the LRT. This caveat is important. Just as the petitioners
assert that compliance by administrative decision-makers with the limits of their
authority is indispensable to the legality of their actions, so are the petitioners very
much concerned with the actual dispensation of justice.

II.

Respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing DOTC


Order 2014-014 on the ground that:
II.1 The assailed Order was issued in violation of the right of the
public to notice and hearing.

Presuming that respondents have jurisdiction to issue the assailed


Department Order, petitioners contend that the respondents committed grave abuse
of discretion in promulgating the assailed Department Order without notice and
hearing to the stakeholders and the public.
The Department Order was issued without notice and hearing the bringing
to the attention of the stakeholders of BOTH the intention to increase the fare
schedules and the grounds advanced by the respondents for this proposal, and of
course, the opportunity to be heard on both the intention and the grounds.
Notice and Hearing should at least fulfill two main functions: to obligate the
concerned government agency, Respondent DOTC in this case, to notify and
explain to the stakeholders and the public the basis of and reasons for the fare hike
and, it gives the stakeholders and afford the public the opportunity to oppose the
proposed fare hike. It is incomprehensible for government to conduct hearings on
the lowering of jeepney fares, but find it unnecessary to conduct hearings on its
decision to increase light rail fares. Failure to conduct hearings on the same
renders the decision void.
Where the fixing of rates is delegated to officers or commissions, the
persons or entities affected must be afforded procedural due process appropriate to
the nature of the case and consistent with statutory requirements, including,
ordinarily, a notice which is adequate and timely under the circumstances, and a
hearing which is fair and open, and which comports with due process safeguards.
Francisco v. Toll Regulatory Board, G.R. No. 166910, October 19, 2010, clearly
mandates:
Akin to what is contemplated in Clause 11.7 of the MNTC
STOA, Clauses 8.08 (2) and (3) of the SLTC STOA, under

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which the TRB warrants or is obligated to compensate the


Operator for its loss of revenue resulting from the nonimplementation of the calculation/formula of authorized toll
price and toll rate adjustments found in Clause 8 thereof, are
illegal, unconstitutional and, hence, void. This ruling is
consistent with the TRB's power to determine, without any
influence or compulsion direct or indirect as to whether
a change in the toll fee rates is warranted. We will discuss the
same below.
In Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) v.
Blancaflor, the Court expounded on the necessity of a public
hearing in rate fixing/increases scenario. There, the Court
ruled that the MIAA, being an agency attached to the
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),
is governed by Administrative Code of 1987, 114 Book VII,
Section 9 of which specifically mandates the conduct of a
public hearing. Accordingly, the MIAA's resolutions, which
increased the rates and charges for the use of its facilities
without the required hearing, were struck down as void.
Similarly, as We do concede, the TRB, being likewise an agency
attached to the DOTC, is governed by the same Code and
consequently requires public hearing in appropriate cases. It is,
therefore, imperative that in implementing and imposing new,
i.e., subsequent toll rates arrived at using the toll rate
adjustment formula, the subject tollway operators and the
TRB must necessarily comply not only with the requirement
of publication but also with the equally important public
hearing. Accordingly, any fixing of the toll rate, which did not
or does not comply with the twin requirements of public
hearing and publication, must therefore be struck down as
void. In such case, the previously valid toll rate shall
consequently apply, pending compliance with the twin
requirements for the new toll rate.
x x x x Even with the existence of an automatic toll rate
adjustment formula, compliance by the TRB and the other
respondents with the twin requirements of public hearing
and publication is still mandatory. To reiterate, laws always
occupy a plane higher than mere contract provisions. In case the
minimum statutory requirements are stiffer than that of a
contract, or when the contract does not expressly stipulate the
minimum requirements of the law, then We rule that compliance
with such minimum legal requirements should be done. To
summarize, any toll fee increase should comply with the legal
twin requirements of publication and public hearing, the
absence of which will nullify the imposition and collection of

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the new toll fees. x x x x Be that as it may, We rule that the


TRB is mandated to comply with the twin requirements of public
hearing and publication. (emphasis added)

Notice for a meaningful hearing


Statutory authority rests, as quoted above, in the Administrative Code of
1987. This statute requires both notice and hearing meaningful, which could only
be if the intention to increase the fares and the grounds for doing so are brought to
the stakeholders attention, and the latter are given adequate time and opportunity
to contest the intention and the grounds:
SECTION 9. Public Participation. (1) If not
otherwise required by law, an agency shall, as far as practicable,
publish or circulate notices of proposed rules and afford
interested parties the opportunity to submit their views prior to
the adoption of any rule.
(2) In the fixing of rates, no rule or final order shall be
valid unless the proposed rates shall have been published in a
newspaper of general circulation at least two (2) weeks before
the first hearing thereon.
(3) In case of opposition, the rules on contested cases shall
be observed.
Note as well that there is a required form for notice publication prior
to the first hearing.
In the case of the assailed Department Order No. 2014-014, there was
neither notice nor hearing as contemplated above. That is why the petitioners were
so unpleasantly surprised with and surely cannot accede to the DOTCs void
directive to increase the fares in the light railway system.
And because there was no notice and hearing, the petitioners were also not
afforded the opportunity to exercise their individual rights to discovery and
disclosure of the DOTCs alleged bases for its Department Order No. 2014-014, to
access oral confrontations with and cross-examine the DOTCs resource and point
persons, and to test the adequacy and sufficiency of the reasons proffered by the
DOTC in justifying the fare increases.
The Administrative Code of 1987 requires notice by publication prior to the
first hearing. Fairness and common sense also dictate that notices should at least be
posted at all the LRT/MRT stations since it is there where the direct stakeholders,
the riders, converge. Further, contents of the notice and its addressees are essential
because they would define whether the hearing would be meaningful.

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Ante-dated Hearing is not due process


Claims by respondent in the media that hearings were conducted in 2013 is
of no moment since the conditions today and the grounds used by respondents in
the assailed Department Order are different from those in 2013 where the rate hike
was withdrawn due to the publics opposition. What took place was rather a forum
informing the public of the intended rate hike, but without the opportunity by the
public to oppose such proposal in the proper forum.
The riding public is entitled to a new and original round of notice and
hearing, more so because this new decision by the respondents represents a change
in their previous withdrawal and reversal of the 2013 fare hike proposal. The
doctrine of legitimate expectations entitles the riding public such new and original
rights to procedural fairness.
The need for a timely hearing to allow the public to examine the factors in
an imposition is stressed in Republic v. MERALCO, G.R. No. 141314, April 9,
2003:
The business and operations of a public utility are imbued
with public interest. In a very real sense, a public utility is
engaged in public service providing basic commodities and
services indispensable to the interest of the general public. For
this reason, a public utility submits to the regulation of
government authorities and surrenders certain business
prerogatives, including the amount of rates that may be charged
by it. It is the imperative duty of the State to interpose its
protective power whenever too much profits become the
priority of public utilities.
Rate regulation calls for a careful consideration of the
totality of facts and circumstances material to each application
for an upward rate revision. Rate regulators should strain to
strike a balance between the clashing interests of the public
utility and the consuming public and the balance must assure
a reasonable rate of return to public utilities without being
unreasonable to the consuming public. What is reasonable or
unreasonable depends on a calculus of changing circumstances
that ebb and flow with time. Yesterday cannot govern today, no
more than today can determine tomorrow x x x x. (emphases
added)
There is every reason for the petitioners to be heard on the propriety and
legality of the fare increases given the fiscal structure of the light rail transit. As
stated above, the public has invested so much in the building of the MRT and in
nationalizing the LRT lines yet in both government projects the public is being

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called to bear the burden through fare hikes of discharging the onerous contractual
obligations of the government.
Why should this be the case? The public has practically paid for the light rail
transit, both the MRT and the LRT1/LRT2 (in the case of the latter, the public
already owns it), yet at the instance of private investors, the public is being made to
pay for them again directly through fare hikes and equally directly through taxes.
Where is the fairness in this determination?
At the very least, the petitioners and the public must be given the
opportunity to be heard in a dialogue with or even an inquisition of the respondents
and the government on why this is the state of affairs that should bedevil the
country.
The petitioners wish to hammer the foregoing facts and factors because they
are defining and determinative in arriving at a reasonable and just reasoning
process and outcome. It is only when these facts and factors are accounted for in an
administrative process defined by notice and hearing and full participatory rights
before an impartial decision-maker, can the public be rest assured that their rights
have been well taken care of and truly respected and dignified.
II.2 The basis and the reasons for the rate hike contained in DOTC
Order 2014-014 are unreasonable and unjustified. The ability of the
people, especially the minimum wage earners, to pay is of primordial
consideration.
The basis or reasons of respondents for the rate increase range from the
irrelevant to the tragicall of which do not fulfill the requirement of this
Honorable Court that any imposition of burden on the public by public utilities
must be just and reasonable.
The respondents basis and reason that the fare hike will result in the
equitable distribution of government funds currently dedicated to subsidizing the
operations of the above rail lines in Metro Manila to much-needed development
projects and relief operations in other parts of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao
are not only irrelevant factors to a fare increase but are unjust and unreasonable as
well.
The respondents gravely erred in the articulation of its reasons and in the
outcome of its reasoning process. This Court should therefore quash Department
Order No. 2014-014. It is utterly incorrect to ignore factors that ought to have
been examined and weighed and to treat irrelevant and even illegal factors as if
they were defining and determinative.
Further, the Department Orders manner of articulating its reasoning
process fails the due process elements of justification, transparency and
intelligibility. This means that the reasons in the Department Order must be

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sufficient to allow for meaningful appellate review and to meet the riding publics,
including the petitioners, functional need to know why fare increases are
necessary and why subsidies have to be taken away and re-aligned to some
unidentified projects in unidentified locations. Specifically, the Department Order
does not quote the Medium Term Development Plan that allegedly keys in a
mandatory Users Pay Principle and how relevant this matter is when the Plan itself
expires in 2016. Neither does the Development Order provide explicit reproduction
of the supposed resolutions of the LRTA and MRT 3 Office and explanation of the
role of these resolutions in the mix of relevant factors mentioned above.
Firstly, the 2015 General Appropriations Act and the 2014 Supplemental
Budget provided funds for the repair and rehabilitation of both LRT and MRT lines
so there is no need to impose the burden of funding their rehabilitation on the
people through rate increases. During the budget deliberations they assured
Congress that the repair and rehabilitation of both the LRT and MRT lines will
have to be funded by the 2015 GAA. Later they submitted supplemental budgets
for the same repair and rehabilitation ostensibly to cover up for the full
rehabilitation of the same only to subsequently impose the rate hikes for practically
the same items.
This Honorable Court should note that respondents waited for the approval
of both the 2015 GAA and the 2014 Supplemental Budget on December 17, 2014
before issuing the assailed Resolution the next day on December 18, 2014.
Respondents claim that the P2 Billion savings resulting from the said increases
will be used for development projects and relief operations in Visayas and
Mindanao is an irrelevant basis for the rate increase and merely transforms the
budgetary allocation into a DAP-like pork barrel through artificial savings.
Surely, Malacanang will suddenly have P2 Billion and the luxury of selecting
projects and beneficiaries for their favourite districts. Ang Pork Barrel ay public
fund kung saan ang desisyon kung anong proyekto at sino ang mga benepisyaryo
ay nakasalalay sa iisang tao. The appropriated amount is suddenly transformed
into a P2 Billion pesos windfall that fits the definition of pork barrel.
The Respondents reasoning that subsidies to the mass transport system in
Metro Manila is unjust to the people of Mindanao and Visayas who do not use the
MRT and LRT Lines is therefore an irrelevant factor in a rate increase.
Respondents line is a dangerous divide and rule tactic. Public service operates
on the principle that it is open to all and that it is illegal to discriminate against
anyone. This principle is emphasized in the narrow area of public service but it
applies to the entirety of government service.
The transfer of funds cannot simply and solely be because the government
project in Metro Manila is not being used by people elsewhere. This is an
unreasonable exercise of discretion. It is in fact an impossible condition for the
implementation of any project because it is the nature of government service that
some may avail of it more often than others and this character of the project does
not make it more or less worthy of government attention. Indeed, the fact that a

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government project can and may be used by any citizen is enough reason for the
existence and continuance of the project. Otherwise, the people of Mindanao and
Visayas can question the use of the Malampaya Funds to finance Pres. Benigno
Aquinos emergency powers because it will only address the electricity shortage
in Luzon.
The people of Luzon and Visayas should not begrudge the people of
Mindanao for the subsidy of the Angus-Polanggi Hydro Dam merely because the
electricity it generates is only used in Mindanao. Those from Mindanao and Luzon
should support subsidies for hospitals in the Visayas even if they will never be
confined in these hospitals. This is the proper perspective in budgetary allocations
for public service.
II.3 The fare hike is oppressive to the low income
workers/commuters who comprise the largest number of
the passengers and is violative of the social justice
provision of the Constitution; government subsidy and
light rail fare rates must be based on the ability to pay of
the minimum wage earners.

Majority of the commuters are from low to middle income groups whose
daily wage, if they are employed at all, have been pegged to measly amounts for
years. According the Mega Manila Transport Study (2007) almost 68% of the
regular MRT/LRT consumers earn just within range of the minimum wage rates in
Metro Manila. Forty five less than P10,000 per month. Forty-five percent of the
commuters earn below the minimum wage. The new fares will cost a minimum
wage earner who is a regular LRT/MRT user as much as 16% of his income.
Put in the context of increasing fares in alternative modes of transportation,
prices of food and other basic goods, etc. not to mention the chronic job scarcity
the LRT/MRT fare hike is unconscionable oppressive and violative of the social
justice provision of the 1987 Constitution. The MRT/LRT fare hikes will
practically wipe out the meagre P10.00 increase for minimum wage earners which
took effect October 4, 2013.
The current P465 minimum wage of workers in NCR cannot sustain decent
cost of living for a family of six. It is oppressive and unjust for the government to
ignore the fact that the additional fares it charges from the minimum wage earners
and low income commuters reduce the ability of the poor to pay for food, water
and electricity other basic needs to live.
Decisions involving public burden for public service, such as increasing
fares for public transport must be based in consideration of the role played by
public transport in peoples lives and the principle of the ability to pay or absorb
the burden and not in the mechanical imposition of the users pay policy.

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This is further highlighted in the case of the MRT and the LRT which can be
actually be sustained by the fare revenues collected from the commuters had
government not committed to onerous sweetheart deals with private corporations
that drain public funds and garner the lions share of the supposed subsidy. There
is no need for a fare hike therefore since the present fares paid by commuters can
already cover the cost of operation and maintenance of LRT and MRT.
The level of government subsidy and fare rates of mass transit system for the
poor and ordinary people must be based on the ability to pay of the minimum wage
earners. The ability of the low income commuters, especially minimum wage
earners must be given prime consideration as they are the greatest number and
hardly hit.
Social service and justice dictate that the government must continue to
provide adequate subsidies to maintain the present MRT/LRT fare rates for the
sake of the poor majority instead of increasing it for few private investors
interests.

SUMMARY
Petitioners contend that Respondent DOTC does not have jurisdiction to
approve fare increases because there is no law that confers such jurisdiction to the
DOTC. Presuming that DOTC has jurisdiction to issue the assailed order
approving the fare increases, the assailed order is void for the violation of the right
of the commuters and the public to a notice and hearing.
The petitioners would have demanded an oral hearing and cross-examination
of witnesses, parties and resource persons and effectively opposed the rate hike.
They would have carried out extensive disclosure and discovery remedies. They
would have had obliged the appearance of the Commission on Audit and demand
an accounting of the supposed government subsidy and where these subsidies
went.
But the petitioners, apparently by design, were deprived by the respondents
these fairness and participatory mechanisms. Worse, the petitioners and the public
were pushed to the ropes to ensure that they could not have had or at most had
limited means to fight back.
In short, the reasonableness and justness of the fare hikea basic
requirement in the decision for fare increases, would have been resolved through
these hearings. Respondents failure to accord the public such right is fatal to the
cause of respondents.

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APPLICATION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER


The petitioners re-plead the foregoing allegations. In addition, the petitioners
argue that both clear and unmistakable right exists to stop the enforcement of
Department Order No. 2014-014. It is void, it is unfair, it is incorrect, it is
unreasonable. The details have been set forth above. As well, if this Department
Order is not stopped in its tracks, the petitioners and millions more will suffer
grave and irreparable injury. For the rich and notorious, an additional PhP20.00 for
each ride may mean nothing. But for the working and toiling class, those who
would smell of sweat and sun only a few minutes after six oclock in the morning
strikes, PhP20.00 is not just an economic and material sacrifice and loss but an
insult and affront to their dignities as persons.

PRAYER
THUS, the petitioners respectfully pray of this Honorable Court:
1. To ANNUL and SET ASIDE Department Order No. 2014-014 dated
December 18, 2014 issued by the Respondent Jose Emilio Abaya in his
capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC) imposing fare hikes in LRT Lines 1 and 2 and
MRT Line 3 under the Uniform Distance-Based Fare Scheme.
2. To permanently ENJOIN the respondents from implementing the fare
hikes in Department Order 2014-014.
3. To ISSUE a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a writ of preliminary
injunction, restraining and/or enjoining the Respondents from
implementing the assailed DOTC Department Order 2014-014.
Other remedies or relief just and equitable under the circumstances are
prayed for.
Respectfully submitted.
Quezon City for the City of Manila. 6 January 2015.

COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS

MARY ANN M. BAYANG


No. 45 K-7th St., Brgy. West Kamias, Quezon City
Tel. No.:9213473
Roll No. 49292
IBP No. 954347/01-09-14/Baguio-Benguet Chapter

Bayan Muna v. Abaya | Petition


Page 30 of 30

PTR No. 10081208/01-09-14/Paranaque


MCLE Compliance No. IV-0022745

MARIA CRISTINA YAMBOT


Roll No. 59700
IBP No. 961187/02-04-14/Rizal
PTR No. 1273804/01-06-14/Rizal
MCLE Compliance No. IV 0016616/04-11-13

Copy furnished:
Sec. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya
Secretary (DOTC)
The Columbia Tower, Brgy. Wack-wack, Ortigas Avenue
1555 Mandaluyong City
Mr. Honorito D. Chaneco
Office of the Administrator
Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA)
Administration Building, LRTA Compound, Aurora Boulevard,
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Renato Z. San Jose
Officer-in-Charge
MRT Line 3 Office
DOTC MRT3 Office, North Ave. cor EDSA
Bgy. Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City
OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
134 Amorsolo St. Legaspi Village
Makati City

EXPLANATION
Due to the shortage of messengerial services and lack of time, copies of the
foregoing are being served to the other parties by registered mail in accordance
with Section 11, Rule 13 of the Revised Rules of Court.
MARIA CRISTINA YAMBOT