Petition vs EDSA provincial bus ban hits a bump

Lian Buan
(3rd UPDATE) Even with a Supreme Court dismissal, there is still an injunction on the bus ban issued by a Quezon City court in July 2019 that favors provincial operators

CHOKEPOINT. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is seen along EDSA. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Supreme Court dismissed petitions against the EDSA provincial bus ban for procedural flaws, a bump on the road for petitioners. 

“We dismiss the suit for contravening the doctrine of hierarchy of courts,” the Supreme Court said in a notice resolution released Friday, January 3.

The en banc dismissed consolidated petitions by AKO Bicol Partylist, Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate that sought to strike down the bus ban for policy loopholes.

The Supreme Court did not dismiss the petition on merits but on procedures, saying, “These factual questions require reception of evidence and/or hearing which must be relegated to the Court of Appeals or to the proper trial court.”

In July 2019, Quezon City RTC Branch 223 issued a preliminary injunction on the ban, favoring provincial operators who also sought to stop it. In effect, the advice to go to the local court has already been done.

“It is our position that the writ of injunction issued by RTC QC still stands.  This is because the Supreme Court did not dwell on the merits of the petitions and dismissed the same due to a technicality,” said lawyer Romeo Fernandez, who represented the operators in the petition for the preliminary injunction.

Revoked permits

The provincial bus ban of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) effectively revoked the business permits of provincial bus terminals on EDSA in a bid to ease traffic in the metro. 

It would have forced commuters to alight at an interim terminal in Sta Rosa, Laguna and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange for those from the south, and another interim bus terminal in Valenzuela City for those from the north.

The petitions argued that the MMDA overstepped the limits of its powers as it had neither legislative nor police powers to bar the issuance of permits in relation to the ban.

The ban has also been criticized for being unsustainable and uneconomical. 

The petitions argued that instead of easing the people’s burden, passengers from the provinces end up being inconvenienced.

For his part, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said that the agency respects the Supreme Court’s decision, and moving forward, will be cooperating with the Office of the Solicitor General. – with a report from Loreben Tuquero/

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.