SC junks plea vs PUVMP; 2 petitions still pending

SC junks plea vs PUVMP; 2 petitions still pending

/ 05:44 AM March 07, 2024

PHOTO: Modernized jeepneys on the road STORY: SC junks plea vs PUVMP; 2 petitions still pending

ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO | Citing technicalities, the Supreme Court has thrown out a petition questioning the legality of the government’s modernization program for public transport vehicles. Two more are pending, both filed by transport groups for or against the program. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has dismissed on technicalities a transport group’s petition challenging the constitutionality of the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP) because it doubted the legal standing of the petitioner who also disregarded the hierarchy of courts.

The high court did not rule on the merits of the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed in 2020 by Bayyo Association Inc. and its president Anselmo Perweg, who complained that part of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Order No. 2017-011 was “an invalid delegation of legislative power” and violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.


However, it noted in its decision promulgated last year but released only on Wednesday that the group did not have the requisite legal standing to file the suit, adding that Bayyo Association Inc. erred in expecting it to establish the facts of the case.


“Accordingly, due to the absence of Bayyo’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws or any other competent proof, the court cannot ascertain its legal standing as an association of [public utility jeepney] operators and drivers,” the high court said.

It added that it could not “simply rely on the bare and unsubstantiated” claims of the petitioners about the supposed “adverse impacts of the assailed provision on the livelihood of drivers and operators.”

“These factual issues should have been first brought before the proper trial courts or the Court of Appeals, both of which are specially equipped to try and resolve factual questions,” the court said.

Piston’s appeal

There are at least two other petitions over the PUVMP that are pending before the Supreme Court, including Piston’s appeal for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the deadline for franchise consolidation in December 2023.

In its petition, Piston said the administrative orders issued by the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on the modernization program were “oppressive, overreaching and confiscatory” in nature, violating their right to due process, equal protection of laws, and right against unreasonable seizures.


The second petition was a motion for intervention asking the court to dismiss Piston’s plea. It was filed in January by pro-PUVMP transport groups, including Pasang Masda, Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and the Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators.

Bayyo’s arguments

In its petition, Bayyo said it was composed of 430 jeepney operators and drivers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and plying various Metro Manila routes.

The group disputed the legality of DOTr Order No. 2017-011, which laid down the requirements for modernizing PUVs.

READ: Transport group sues gov’t execs over PUV modernization program

The order required that public vehicles must be environmentally friendly and use electric drive and/or a combustion engine that complies with Euro IV or better emission standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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It also indicated that refurbished or rebuilt vehicles must pass the emission standards and roadworthiness test of the Land Transportation Office for renewal of registration.

Bayyo argued that the administrative issuance had “serious repercussions” on the transport sector, affecting the health, safety, and well-being of jeepney operators, drivers, and commuters.

TAGS: public utility vehicles, PUV modernization program, Supreme Court

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