In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court upheld the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s reimplementation of the number coding scheme on public utility buses, saying it was well within the MMDA’s power to ease traffic congestion.
In a 28-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the High Court dismissed the petition for injunction filed by bus drivers Samson Pantaleon, Eduardo Tacoyo Jr., Jesus Bautista, and Monico Agustin.
The petitioners questioned the MMDA’s number coding scheme or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, under MMDA Resolution No. 10-16 and Memorandum Circular No. 08, series of 2010.
The Court said that the petitioners failed to present a clear factual foundation to counter the validity of the measure.
“The buses driven by petitioners have not been totally banned or prohibited from plying the Metro Manila roads. However, as in private vehicles, the operation of public utility buses in Metro Manila was merely regulated with a view to curb traffic congestion,” it said.
The Court also said that Republic Act No. 7924, which created the MMDA, clearly confers upon the agency – through the Metro Manila Council, its governing body – “the power to issue regulations that provide for a system to regulate traffic in the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila for the safety and convenience of the public.”
The Court also said that a certificate of public convenience – issued to authorized public utility vehicles – is a “mere privilege and does not confer upon its holder a property right.”
“While this Court recognizes the possible adverse effect of the reimplementation of the number coding scheme to public utility buses on petitioners’ source of livelihood, the promotion of the general welfare is of paramount importance,” it said.
“Hence, petitioners’ individual interests must be subordinated to the benefit of the greater number,” the Court added.
The decision was promulgated on November 17, 2020, but was only released to the public on June 11.
The number coding scheme in Metro Manila has been suspended since the capital region was placed under quarantine restrictions. – Rappler.com