Speaker warns SC justices on common station project
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday threatened to impeach Supreme Court justices who would insist on blocking the construction of a common station linking the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems.
“That’s government money funding a government project. Why would they issue a TRO (temporary restraining order)?” he said, addressing stakeholders at a hearing of the House transportation committee.
“Go through with it. If they issue a TRO, then we will impeach them. I am not joking,” Alvarez said.
Speaking to reporters later, the House leader said he was only explaining to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) that there should be no more impediment to the construction of the common station.
“There’s budget already, why aren’t they starting? Why aren’t they bidding it out? It’s government that will spend, it’s a project of the government, what have they got to fear?” he said.
“If they issue another TRO, that’s not right. That’s tantamount to abuse of power. So Congress will not hesitate to do its job,” said Alvarez, who formerly headed the transportation department under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Last month, the Speaker made a similar call asking the DOTr and private players to begin construction of the common station “with or without a TRO.”
He said too many hearings had been devoted to the controversial proposal to build the station, which had undergone several iterations due to the rival interests of two mall developers, before an agreement was finally signed on Jan. 18.
The Supreme Court earlier issued TROs blocking the change in the station’s location due to a disagreement stemming from a 2014 decision of the transportation department, then headed by Joseph Abaya, to move it from the SM City North Edsa Annex to an area near Trinoma mall.
The station was originally meant to be located near SM’s property, based on an agreement SM Prime had with the Light Rail Transit Authority in 2009, during the Arroyo administration. When this was not followed, SM Prime sued the department in 2014 for breach of contract.
Also affected by the issue were Light Rail Manila Corp., a venture between Ayala Corp. and Manuel V. Pangilinan’s group that operates LRT-1, as well as San Miguel Corp., which is building the MRT-7.
But the companies finally came to an agreement with the DOTr on Jan. 18 to build the facility at the intersection of Edsa and North Avenue.
Under the deal, which will cost the government P2.8 billion, the station will link LRT’s Line 1 and MRT’s Line 3 and the latter’s proposed Line 7.
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