Salceda urges SC to halt provincial bus ban on EDSA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2019   •   1761

MANILA, Philippines – Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda on Monday urged the Supreme Court (SC) to halt a local policy banning provincial buses and terminals on Edsa, which is set to take effect in June.

Salceda filed his petition, asking the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the plan of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to enforce its Regulation No. 19-002, series of 2019 which seeks to prohibit all provincial buses from loading and unloading passengers along Edsa.

Under the resolution, local governments are urged to revoke or prohibit the issuance of business permits to all terminals and operators of public utility buses and vehicles on Edsa.

When this policy takes effect in June, provincial buses will be required to drop off passengers at government-constructed terminals like those in Parañaque, Valenzuela City and Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where they could transfer to city vehicles. 

The MMDA earlier said the impending policy is one of the best alternatives to decongest Metro Manila roads.

READ: MMDA: EDSA bus ban one of the best options in decongesting Metro Manila

But Salceda argued in his petition that the policy will not solve traffic congestion on one of the country’s busiest roads. He said only around 3,300 provincial buses use Edsa on a daily basis, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

He further stated that the MMDA overstepped its authority and violated the franchises of affected buses as granted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, as well as the lease agreements between bus operators and terminal owners.

Salceda added that the regulation is “oppressive and unfair” to the public as the new routes will only add burden to commuters.

This is the second petition filed before the SC, seeking to stop the MMDA’s bus ban on Edsa.

In April, the AKO-Bicol party-list also asked the high court for a TRO on the said policy, arguing that the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council have no authority to implement the ban as they were not authorized to enact ordinances or approve resolutions.

The group added that these are acts of police power that only individual local government units can exercise.

Application for SC, Court of Appeals posts now open – JBC

Robie de Guzman   •   May 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has announced the opening of applications or recommendations for positions at the Supreme Court (SC) and the Court of Appeals (CA).

In an announcement posted on SC Public Information Office’s Twitter account, the JBC said applicants who will be selected in the process will occupy the position to be vacated by SC Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr., who will retire on September 18, and former CA Presiding Justice Romeo Barza, who retired on August 2, 2019.

In its advisory, the JBC said interested applications must visit its official website, and access the online application scheduler.

After filling out the computer-generated letter of intent, they must submit it along with the documentary requirements to this JBC e-mail on the selected date and time of appointment in the online application scheduler.

The JBC emphasized that the digitized versions of the letter of intent they will submit must be “complete” and “accurate.”

“The documentary requirements should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and e-mailed in a single file only, following the order of documents as enumerated in the Announcement posted on the JBC website,” it said.

“The date of actual receipt of the complete documentary requirements (sent through e-mail) shall be deemed as the date of filing,” it added.

The JBC further said that applicants are also required to submit two complete sets of the documentary requirements through courier service not later than 4:30 p.m. of July 7, 2020 to its office along Padre Faura Street in Manila.

It warned that applicants who will fail to comply with the requirements of online and physical submission of the documentary requirements will not be considered for nomination.

The JBC likewise announced it has set on May 28 at 10 a.m. an online public interview of candidates for the SC Associate Justice position vacated by former Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., who compulsorily retired on May 11, 2020.

The candidates are as follows:

  • Ramon Bato Jr.
  • Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla
  • Edwin Sorongon
  • Nina Antonio-Valenzuela

The JBC said that the following are also candidates for the said judicial position, but whose previous interviews are still valid:

  • Manuel Barrios
  • Amparo Cabotaje-Tang
  • Ramon Cruz
  • Japar Dimaampao
  • Jhosep Lopez
  • Jose Midas Marquez
  • Eduardo Peralta Jr.
  • Pablito Perez
  • Rizardo Rosario

The JBC is a constitutional office that accepts, screens, and nominates appointments to the judiciary.

It will then submit a list of nominees to President Rodrigo Duterte for selection, and whoever is appointed will complete the membership in the SC composed of 15 justices.

SC directs NTC, Congress to answer ABS-CBN vs closure order

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Congress to comment on the petition filed by the ABS-CBN Corporation, challenging the cease and desist order that forced the network to go off the air earlier this May.

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the magistrates gave the NTC 10 days from receipt of the notice to respond to the petition.

The NTC was named as the only respondent to ABS-CBN’s petition but the SC said it separately impleaded the Senate and the House of Representatives as parties to the case and required them to comment on the petition, stated the press briefer posted by the SC on its Twitter account.

The High Court also gave the NTC five days to reply to the comments to be filed by the Senate and the House.

The SC PIO said these actions were unanimously approved by the 14 SC Justices during an En Banc session on Tuesday.

The SC did not issue a temporary restraining order, as requested by the ABS-CBN in its petition, against the implementation of NTC’s closure order which it claims was issued without notice and hearing.

The NTC issued a shutdown order against ABS-CBN after its franchise expired on May 4.

In its petition, the media company argued that the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

It also asked the SC to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order which directed the network to stop the broadcast operations of its television and radio stations on May 5.

The SC PIO also confirmed that the High Court denied the motion of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon to consolidate his petition – which sought for the NTC to be prevented from issuing a provisional authority to ABS-CBN – with the plea of the network.

Mabigat na trapiko, naranasan sa Metro Manila sa unang araw ng pagbabalik-operasyon ng mga kumpanya

Robie de Guzman   •   May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mabigat na trapiko ang naranasan sa ilang lansangan sa Metro Manila ngayong Lunes, Mayo 18 kasunod ng pagbabalik-operasyon ng ilang kumpaya sa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Sa ulat ni UNTV Correspondent Asher Cadapan, Jr. sa Ito ang Balita, partikular na naranasan ang mabagal na daloy ng mga sasakyan sa Marcos Highway na boundary ng mga lungsod ng Pasig at Antipolo.

Ayon kay Edison “Bong” Nebrija, ang EDSA Traffic Czar ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), bumigat ang trapiko dahil sa ipinatutupad pa ring quarantine control points o checkpoints.

Mas naging dama aniya ang bagal ng galaw ng trapiko dahil sa mataas na volume ng sasakyang nasa kalsada ngayong araw kumpara noong naka-ECQ pa ang Metro Manila at mas limitado ang mga taong pinapayagang lumabas ng kanilang tahanan.

“Iba na y’ong volume ng vehicles kapag nasa general community quarantine at saka MECQ. Mas marami na po ngayon at very significant y’ong naging delay sa mga checkpoint because of the volume. Siyempre, marami po talaga mag-i-inspect saka hahaba po talaga y’ong queueing na tinatawag,” ani Nebrija.

Nasa ilalim na ng MECQ ang ilang lugar, kabilang na ang Metro Manila simula noong May 16.

Sa ilalim ng hakbang na ito, pinapayagan ang pagbalik ng kalahating porsyento ng operasyon at workforce ng mga negosyo at opisina ngunit obligado silang magpatupad ng safety at health protocols.

Kailangan ding maghanda sila ng shuttle bus o kaya ay mga pribadong sasakyan na maghahatid-sundo sa mga empleyado lalo’t suspindido pa rin ang operasyon ng public transportation sa ilalim ng MECQ.

Gayunman, limitado lang ang maaaring isakay rito at kailangang nakasunod sa physical distancing ang mga pasahero sang-ayon sa guidelines na inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID.)

Bunsod nito, mas dumami ang mga sasakyang bumibiyahe sa Metro Manila, pati na ang mga nagbibisikleta sa kalye.

Ayon kay Nebrija, inaasahan na nila ito dahil sa limited seating capacity ng mga sasakyang papayagang bumiyahe sa ilalim ng MECQ.

Upang matiyak ang kaligtasan ng mga taong pipiliing mag-bisikleta na lamang papasok sa kanilang trabaho, sinabi ng MMDA official na pinag-uusapan na ng mga kinauukulang ahensiya ang paglalagay ng “protected bike lanes” sa kahabaan ng EDSA.

“It’s on the table already na papaano natin bibigyan ng bike lane; hindi lang basta-basta bike lane lalong lalo na sa EDSA kundi protected bike lane,” ani Nebrija.

“Kasi ‘pag nag-transition na tayo sa GCQ, everybody will be there and we do not want na ma-mix y’ong mga bisikleta sa with private vehicles, public transport or motorcycles,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, nilinaw rin ni Nebrija na nananatiling suspindido ang number coding scheme sa Metro Manila upang magamit ng mga empleyado ang pribado nilang sasakyan sa pagpasok sa trabaho. – RRD

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