SM's TRO petition on LRT-MRT common station junked

Posted at 07/01/14 5:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines – SM Prime's petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the transfer of a "common station" for three major railways from SM City North EDSA to Ayala's Trinoma Mall has been denied by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.

The court has also denied SM’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction “in view of the mandatory ban under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8975.”

RA No. 8975 prohibits lower courts from issuing TRO or preliminary injunction against government infrastructure projects.

In a statement, SM Prime Holdings Inc. legal counsel, Atty. Ryan San Juan, said the court’s decision is “regrettable.”

The mall developer maintains that the 2009 memorandum agreement between SM, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is valid and should be honored by the involved parties.

"It is regrettable that the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City has denied SM Prime's application for a TRO to prevent the DOTC and LRTA from performing acts inconsistent with the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement dated 29 September 2009 for the construction of the LRT1-MRT3-MRT7 Common Station in front of SM City North EDSA,” San Juan said in the statement released Tuesday.

San Juan said SM will continue to pursue its case for specific performance, where it seeks “to enforce its rights under the valid and legally binding MOA, the existence of which has been duly admitted by both DOTC and LRTA in court, and which MOA has neither been cancelled nor terminated by the parties.”

“SM Prime hopes that in the interim, DOTC and LRTA will respect the MOA and abide in good faith with all its terms and conditions, the same being the law between the parties under the pertinent laws on contracts, including the Civil Code of the Philippines," he added.

DOTC announced earlier this year that the P1.4 billion common station will be located near Ayala’s Trinoma Mall, and not in SM North EDSA, due to costs.

DOTC also said the NEDA approval on the SM station is no longer valid, and a new approval is currently in effect.

SM, however, disputed DOTC’s claims that the approval has expired, saying no expiry date was specified in the agreement.

The proposed common station, which will link the LRT-1, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, and MRT-7, is a provision in the P64.9 billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project.

The public-private partnership project is expected to be awarded to the consortium of Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which submitted the lone bid.