LTFRB wraps up Valisno bus hearing; owner a no-show
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has wrapped up its hearing on the Aug. 12 accident involving a Valisno Express bus and will decide whether the company’s franchise should be revoked on or before Sept. 12, the end of the 30-day preventive suspension.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez issued the order on Tuesday during the second hearing set by the board which the operator, Rosalinda Valisno, once again failed to attend, citing health reasons.
“Since they failed to debunk reports and eyewitness accounts that the driver was showing off, [these] will remain on record as unrebutted,” Ginez told reporters.
A passenger had said that the bus driver, George Pacis, was offended by a joke made by another passenger that Nova Bus drivers drove faster than Valisno’s. Pacis later tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
The passenger claimed that after hearing the joke, Pacis drove faster until he hit the concrete boundary marker between Quezon City and Caloocan on Quirino Highway. Two passengers were instantly killed while 20 others were injured. Two more later died in the hospital.
The LTFRB issued a subpoena for Pacis but he failed to appear because he was still under detention. Valisno’s executive secretary, Bibian Martinez, said they were still waiting for the court to grant him bail.
Valisno’s counsel, Francisco Blanes, said that the LTFRB decision should affect only the franchise covering the route of the bus involved in the accident. The suspension order covered the company’s entire fleet of 62 buses.
“The board will decide whether to cancel the four certificates of public convenience (CPC) for the entire fleet or just the subject CPC that includes 24 units,” Ginez said.
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