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DOTr says new case smacks of forum-shopping

Angkas asks new court to exclude rivals in pilot-test run, stop biker limit

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
09:20 AM January 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Motorcycle hailing app Angkas has applied for a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court seeking to exclude rivals WeMove Things/JoyRide and MoveIt in the government’s pilot run for motorcycle taxis.

In a petition, Angkas asked the QC RTC to make a ruling on a similar petition that it had filed before the Mandaluyong City RTC, with regards the implementation of the biker-limit imposed on its riders.

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Angkas also asked the court to stop the apprehension of “excess” bikers.

The Mandaluyong Court had previously issued a 72-hour TRO enjoining the Department of Transportation’s technical working group (TWG) from implementing its ruling that effectively slashed the number of Angkas riders from 17,000 to just 10,000, but the order has since lapsed while the case is still being heard.

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The petition was filed January 3 but was only received by the sala of QC RTC Judge Catherine Manodon on January 6.

The TWG earlier imposed a 39,000 biker cap for all transport network company (TNC) participating in the test run—10,000 for each TNC in Metro Manila, while 3,000 each for Metro Cebu.

‘Two-faced’

But this petition filed by Angkas was met with derision from the DOTC.

In a statement, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddes Hope Libiran said that the firm was being “two-faced.”

“Dito natin makikita na doble kara ang Angkas. Noong isang araw, nag-sorry sila sa harap ng media. Nangako na susundin nila ang guidelines at makikipag-usap sa gobyerno (This is where we see that Angkas is being two-faced. The other day, they were saying sorry in front of the media. They promised to follow the guidelines and will appeal to the government),” said Libiran.

Libiran was referring to Angkas spokesperson George Royeca’s apology, adding that it was not the firm’s intention to “pick a fight” with regulators.

“Ngayon, nagpunta sila sa korte para i-challenge ang gobyerno. Kasama sa petisyon nila na tanggalin sa pilot study ang Joyride at Move It (Now, they went to court to challenge the government. It was included in the petition to remove JoyRide and MoveIt from the pilot study),” Libiran added.

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“Gusto nila, sila lang. Hindi ba pagkontra din ito sa dati nilang statement na wala silang problema sa kompetisyon? Ano yon, kasinungalingan lang? (What they want is to monopolize it. Isn’t that contrary to their previous statement that they don’t have a problem with competition? What’s that, is that a lie?)”

Forum-shopping

Libiran, in an additional statement, said the DOTr and LTFRB filed motions to dismiss Angkas’ petitions filed before the Mandaluyong and Quezon City RTCs due to the firm’s “blatant deliberate forum shopping.”

“A careful perusal of the allegations of Angkas would reveal that both the Mandaluyong petition and the Quezon City petition, filed three days apart, contain essentially and substantially the same allegations and reliefs: i) for the respective court to issue a TRO, enjoining the respondents from implementing the revised guidelines for pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis; and iiI) to render the Writ of Preliminary Injunction Permanent,” she told INQUIRER.net

“In fact, the only distinction between both petitions is that the QC petition was filed by ‘Angkas’ itself as a corporation, under the name of DBDOYC, Inc., while the Mandaluyong Petition was filed by the riders of ‘Angkas,’” the DOTr official said, adding that both petitioners were represented by “one and the same counsel.”

“With the foregoing antecedents in mind, the explicit rules against forum-shopping are worth revisiting,” the DOTr claimed.

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TAGS: Angkas, Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board
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