DOTC’s admission of lack of authority enough reason to stop light rail fare hike: Bayan Muna

An unusually big number of commuters stand shoulder-to-shoulder while waiting for their train ride at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 station on Taft Avenue and Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Pasay City on Thursday morning (March 27, 2014). The commuters, coming from as far as Cavite, are bound for their places of work in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan and Quezon City. (MNS photo)

An unusually big number of commuters stand shoulder-to-shoulder while waiting for their train ride at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 station on Taft Avenue and Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Pasay City on Thursday morning (March 27, 2014). The commuters, coming from as far as Cavite, are bound for their places of work in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan and Quezon City. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) admission that it lacked authority to raise the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) fares is enough grounds for the Supreme Court to stop the fare hike, a lawmaker said Monday.

Party-list Bayan Muna filed a manifestation with the Supreme Court last Friday, reiterating its call to stop the fare hike based on DOTC Undersecratery Jose Lotilla’s admission that the agency lacked authority for the fare increase, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate told participants to the Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel.

“Wala silang ginawang hearing [for the fare hike]; consultations lang. Inamin din ng DOTC through Usec. Lotilla na walang regulatory body pertaining to rails, trains,” he said.

“DOTC cannot cite any law on granting rate hike. Nakikita namin na malakas ‘yung paniniwala namin na merong basehan na mag-issue ng TRO ang Supreme Court,” Zarate added.

Last January 13, the high tribunal thumbed down the petitions of four groups against the fare hike but required DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, LRT Authority Administrator Honorito Chaneco, MRT 3 Officer-in-Charge Renato San Jose, the MRT Corp. and the Light Rail Manila Consortium to defend the fare hike.

The DOTC green-lit the LRT Lines 1 and 2 and MRT fare hike, which increased the base fare to P11 for both the MRT and the LRT and an additional P1.00 charged per kilometer effective January 4. (MNS)

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