Aid to Don Mariano crash victims in jeopardy due to revocation?

Posted at 01/14/2014 3:02 PM

MANILA - The lawyer for the Don Mariano Transit Corporation raised concerns that their financial assistance to the passengers of the bus that fell off the Skyway last December may be affected after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) revoked the company's franchise.

Speaking to radio dzMM on Tuesday, Atty. Jason Cantil said Don Mariano may have problems paying for the hospitalization fees and other financial liabilities to the victims since the revocation will cut off their source of income.

"Yun yung worry namin ngayon kasi dun nga kami kumikita dapat ng pambayad sa pag-operate namin. Pero titingnan namin kung ano pa yung mga natitirang asset namin para dun sa mga biktima," Cantil said.

"Ang point ko lang mas liquid sana kami na magbayad kapag they allow us to operate," he added.

The Skyway crash on December 16 left at least 21 people dead and over a dozen injured.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said there were many lapses and violations on the part of Don Mariano Transit, which has 78 units.

Ginez pointed out that the bus unit involved in the fatal crash was not roadworthy, noting that its six tires were already worn out and thus not safe to drive under bad climate condition.

He said only six units of Don Mariano's fleet passed a roadworthiness inspection.

"Not only was the particular bus unit involved in the accident not roadworthy to be on the streets, but the bus company was remiss and blatantly negligent in the maintenance and repair of its bus units and in the performance of its business affairs and activities," he added.

For the meantime, Cantil said they will review the LTFRB's decision before they would file a motion for reconsideration.

5 other bus companies

Meanwhile, Cantil did not confirm nor deny that the owners of the Don Mariano Transit Corporation run five other bus companies.

Ginez earlier said that aside from Don Mariano Transit, the Lim family also runs Fermina Express, Mencorp Transport Systems, Commuters Bus Corp., Nova Auto Transport Inc. and Roval Transport Corp.

When asked if Don Mariano could use the resources of the five other bus companies for their financial assistance to the victims, Cantil said they cannot use the funds of other companies.

"Ang bawat company ay may separate and distinct personality kaya hindi pwedeng pambayad ang kita ng ibang korporasyon," he said.

Don Mariano representatives earlier said the company has released P6 million in assistance to victims of the tragedy.

Families of those who perished from the accident were given P65,000 in burial assistance, while those who survived and were released from the hospital received P40,000. Those still in the hospital are being provided assistance in their hospital bills.

Families of some of the victims, however, said they are not receiving enough assistance from the company.