CA junks plea to stop purchase of new MRT trains

Posted at 08/11/14 4:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied a petition filed by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) and MRT Holdings II seeking to stop the acquisition of brand new light rail vehicles (LRVs) from another supplier.

The CA’s 16th Division said that MRTC and MRT Holdings II failed to show enough proof that the contract awarded to Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock of China for the manufacture and supply of 48 brand new LRVs will result in irreparable injury.

"In the case before us, there is no irreparable injury as understood by law. Petitioners' bare allegation that the loss of MRTC's right of first refusal, which carries with it the preferential right to supply the LRVs, would result in irreparable injury is not convincing," the CA said.

"Moreover, any damage that petitioners may suffer is indeed quantifiable and, if proven, is fully compensable as damages," it added.

The CA also said it is prevented to issue injunctive writs on government infrastructure projects under Republic Act 8975.

“It is clear that the project concerning the procurement, supply, and delivery of LRVs partakes of a national government infrastructure projects geared towards the paramount objective of reducing the pitiful condition of our commuters. Thus, we find no compelling reasons for the issuance of the injunctive relief prayed for," the appellate court ruled.

MRTC and MRT Holdings II filed a petition for the issuance of a TRO and/or a writ of preliminary injunction, arguing that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) undertook the procurement through public bidding without its consent or waiver of its right of first refusal in violation of their build-lease-transfer agreement signed in 1997.

The MRT builders said its right for capacity expansion of MRT-3 under the agreement is "clear and unmistakable."

They added that the recent opinion issued by the Department of Justice declaring its right of first refusal to be void was only given to justify DOTC's actions.

The eight-page resolution denying the petition was penned by Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Diy.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ramon Bato Jr. and Rodil Zalameda.