DOTr vows not to use ‘underhanded tactics’ vs Piston leader
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) assured that it would not use “underhanded tactics” to compel courts to issue adversarial orders against George San Mateo, national president of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston).
In a statement on Tuesday, the DOTr assured Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, that it was only proper for the court to order San Mateo’s arrest, saying that he instigated public utility jeepney operators and drivers to halt its operations.
“The DOTr, under the leadership of Secretary Arthur Tugade, assures Senator Poe as well as the public, that the agency would not use underhanded tactics to compel our courts to issue such order,” the department said.
“As always, we allow the courts decide on such cases and let due process take its course. And the fact that a warrant of arrest was issued shows that the complaint against Mr. San Mateo has legal grounds to stand on,” it said.
Poe had questioned San Mateo’s arrest, noting the timing was “suspect” as it also cast doubt on the intent of the complainant in filing the case.
“The PUV modernization program should be borne from a democratic process and not from underhanded tactics,” Poe said in a statement.
“After all, it is through the labor and industry of these jeepney drivers and operators that our commuters are able to travel from one point to another despite the failure of the government to provide better mass transportation options,” Poe said.
But the DOTr explained that a case for violation of the Public Service Act against San Mateo was already pending before Quezon City metropolitan trial court branch 43.
The case was filed by the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on September 22, according to the agency.
“(The case was filed) as a consequence of his actions during the February 2017 nationwide transport strike, when he called on all PUJ operators and drivers to stop plying the roads and disrupt public service,” the DOTr said.
According to the DOTr, “tigil-pasada” or transport strike is among the grounds for revocation of a transport franchise. It explained that among the conditions upon the grant of franchise is that public utility vehicles will not abandon their routes and prejudice commuters.
“The moment an operator applies and is granted a franchise, he agrees to be bound by the conditions of such franchise and the consequences in case of violation,” the department said.
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