TRO on construction of LRT-MRT common station stays
THE Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) still cannot proceed with the transfer of the common station for Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) from SM City North Edsa to the front of Trinoma Mall in North Avenue Quezon City.
In a 22-page resolution in GR No. 213234 (SM Prime Holdings, Inc. v. LRTA and DOTC) made public Wednesday, the high court denied the motion filed by LRTA and DOTC to lift the temporary restraining order issued by the high court last July 30, 2014 that stopped the construction of the common station.
The high court also deferred action on SMPHI’s petition for injunction until the finality of any decision in the civil action before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
At the same time, the high court also ordered Pasay RTC Branch 111 to proceed with the hearing and resolving with dispatch the action for specific performance and damages filed by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) against LRTA and the DOTC .
The high court also ordered the parties to immediately inform them of any final judgment in the civil case before the Pasay Court or any other circumstances that would merit the lifting of the TRO.
“[T]he Court cannot turn a blind eye to the serious implications of a change in the location of the Common Station as previously determined by the LRTA, at the time that it was the lead implementing agency for the project, to the new site chosen by the DOTC, as the present lead implementing agency….It is to the benefit of the common good that the issue of the legality and propriety of the transfer of the Common Station be threshed out in proper proceedings before work on the Common Station be allowed to commence as such work cannot be undone without great, perhaps even immeasurable, cost to the public,” stated resolution signed by First Division Clerk of Court Edgar O. Aricheta.
“We must highlight that what is involved here is a priority infrastructure project of the National Government within the strategic framework of the transportation sector,” the Court stressed. It added: “If the transfer of the Common Station is not temporarily enjoined, it may render moot or ineffectual any judgment in petitioner’s favor that the trial court might render.”
In 2014, the high court issued the restraining order after SMPHI filed a petition to stop the construction of the common station.
The Common Station will connect three urban transit lines: the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT 1), the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT-3), and the future MRT-7, which will run from the Common Station to Bulacan via Commonwealth Avenue.
SMPHI said transfer of the common station violated a 2009 memorandum of agreement with LRTA that it should be constructed in front of SM City North Edsa.
SMPHI also argued that the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) approved the location during the previous administration, or on July 7, 2009. In exchange, SMPHI paid LRTA P200 million as naming rights.