LTFRB revokes franchise of bus firm in SLEX accident

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LTFRB chief Winston Ginez says SCCI was given a chance to pursue an extension of its Certificate of Public Convenience

File photo by Francis Malasig/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) cancelled and revoked the franchise of Southern Carrier Company Inc. (SCCI) after one of its buses figured in an accident along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

LTFRB revoked SCCI’s Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) ordered the company to cease and desist operation of its 23 buses.

LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said the agency’s Enforcement Unit would confiscate the hire plates of the buses on Friday, March 28.

On March 24, an SCCI bus from Lipa, Batangas turned turtle at the SLEX northbound lane after its right rear tires were dislodged near the Sta. Rosa, Laguna exit.

The accident injured 45 of the 48 passengers, one of them losing her arm in the process.

“Right after the accident, we conducted our own investigation and found out that SCCI had a pending application for renewal of franchise,” Ginez said.

He said that a review of SCCI’s franchise records showed that it has a pending Motion for Reconsideration dated December 12, 2012, and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration filed on February 26, 2013, requesting the LTFRB to lift a resolution and an order dated September 24, 2012, and February 27, 2012, respectively.

According to LTFRB records, SCCI had a CPC to operate PUB services for the Batangas City-Manila route valid from February 5, 2004 to August 14, 2008. The LTFRB dismissed its application for a 5-year extension of the validity of its CPC for failure of the SCCI representative to appear at the scheduled hearing.

On August 27, 2009, SCCI filed a Motion for Reconsideration and was again denied for failure of the bus company to appear on the hearing, and for lack of merit.  

The following month, SCCI filed a second Motion for Reconsideration, which the LTFRB granted on November 24, 2010. The board issued a Notice of Hearing for compliance with the jurisdictional requirements.

The SCCI representative, however, again failed to appear at the February 21, 2011 hearing and did not submit the required Formal Order of Evidence. For the second time, the LTFRB dismissed SCCI’s  application for extension of validity on July 28, 2011.

SCCI made several more attempts to seek relief from the LTFRB decision but  these were all dismissed for lack of merit, negligence and procedural lapses committed by SCCI.

Ginez cited a provision in the 2011 Revised Rules of Practice and Procedures that only one Motion for Reconsideration by each party shall be allowed. The only legal remedy left was to file an appeal with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary.

SCCI failed to file an appeal with the DOTC within the required period provided. LTFRB made the decision final and executory.

Binigyan namin ng pagkakataon ang SCCI na humarap sa korte upang dinggin ang kanilang Application for the Extension of its CPC, pero binalewala nila ang palugid na ibinigay sa kanila kaya na-dismiss ang kanilang application,” Ginez said.

(We gave SCCI a chance to be heard in court on their application for the extension of its CPC, but they disregarded the grace period that we gave them. This is why their application was dismissed.)

Earlier this month, LTFRB permanently revoked the permit of Elena Liner and MGP Trans, operators of the buses that figured in the accident along EDSA-Magallanes on Nov 14, 2013. –

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