Pimentel: Up to Palace, Senate to declare Angkas owner persona non grata
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Sunday that he would just let Malacañang and his colleagues in the Senate decide the fate of the Singaporean owner of motorcycle taxi service Angkas, whose deportation he earlier sought.
Pimentel, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, said he was just expressing his “sentiments” when he filed a resolution declaring Angkas president Angeline Tham persona non grata, a move that could prevent her from staying in the country.
The senator, who earlier drew flak for endorsing the entry of JoyRide, Angkas’ competitor, in the pilot test for motorcycle taxis, maintained that Tham, who is married to a Filipino, “bullied” members of the technical working group (TWG) of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“For me, the actions and pronouncements of [Angkas] were intended to bully the TWG. You cannot bully the government, especially under the Duterte administration,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.
He said it was up to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration to act on his resolution, which first needed to secure the support of the majority of senators.
“The action should come from the executive branch because this actually needs an executive action. Let’s just wait what will happen since it’s up to the DFA and the immigration [authorities to handle this],” he said.
Pimentel, a lawyer, said Tham had violated the country’s domestic law on business ownership as she owned 99 percent of Angkas as shown by official documents.
But George Royeca, Tham’s husband and head of the regulatory and public affairs unit of Angkas, said the issue had already been resolved when he took control of the company’s majority shares.
Pimentel filed the resolution after the LTFRB agreed on Jan. 22 to withdraw its recommendation prematurely pulling the plug on the pilot test of motorcycle taxis. Senators had flagged the move as a form of retribution against Angkas, which went to court to stop the TWG from implementing a 10,000 cap on the number of drivers per motorcycle taxi service. Angkas later decided to drop the cases it had filed against the TWG members to end their legal dispute. INQ
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