MANILA (3RD UPDATE) -- The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has imposed a 30-day suspension on G.V. Florida Transport Inc. after one of its units figured in a fatal accident in Bontoc, Mountain Province on Friday morning.
The legal team of the LTFRB served the suspension order at Florida Transport's Sampaloc, Manila terminal at 9:20 a.m. Saturday and at the Cubao terminal at 10:30 a.m.
The suspension order covers all 238 units of G.V. Florida Transport Inc.
The LTFRB noted, however, that 10 of these units were registered under the name of Mt. Province Cable Tours owned by Norberto Que Sr.
It pointed out that no application for approval of sale and transfer has been filed by Que in favor of Florida Transport.
The ill-fated bus was among those 10 units. It had a Florida body marking but its plate number was assigned to Mt. Province Cable Tours.
Moreover, the chassis and engine of the Florida bus were tampered and not registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Therefore, the bus was not authorized to operate as a for hire vehicle, the LTFRB said.
It said this is the most number of buses ever suspended by the Board due to the multiple violations committed by the two bus companies.
"What the bus company committed is blatant multiple violations that we cannot just tolerate because it puts people's life in danger," LTFRB chairman Atty. Winston Ginez said.
"There are enough merits to immediately recall the whole fleet of G.V. Florida and Mt. Province Cable Tours and temporary suspend their operations until we verify the permits of their respective units," he added.
Both companies were given 72 hours from the receipt of the order to submit a show cause explaining why their Certificate for Public Conveyance (CPC) should not be suspended or cancelled or revoked.
A hearing on the case has been set on February 19.
"Patuloy naming lilinisin ang ating lansangan ng mga pampasaherong sasakyan na walang tamang permiso para pumasada upang masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga mananakay natin," Ginez said.
14 dead, 32 hurt
The Florida passenger bus with plate number TXT 872 fell off a deep ravine at around 7:20 a.m. on Friday, leaving 14 people dead.
Among the fatalities were comedian Tado, whose real name is Arvin Jimenez, and two foreign tourists -- Canadian national Alex Loring and Deutch national Anne Martina Adriana Van De Ven.
The 11 others were identified as:
Marcial Barando Jr.
Andrew David Sicam
Ana Dela Cruz
Giovanni "Bam" Morello
At least 32 others were injured in the accident, including the driver who claimed that the brakes did not work.
Those wounded were identified as:
Edgar Mendoza Renon
Annenmik Verwegen (Deutch)
Charlie Sta Maria
Trina De Leon
Four victims still in critical condition were airlifted to the Notre Dame Hospital in Baguio, while two others were airlifted to St. Luke's Medical Center in Manila.
The management of Florida Transport has promised to shoulder the hospital expenses of all the victims.
The Florida bus came from its terminal in Sampaloc, Manila and was bound for Bontoc, Mt. Province when the accident occurred.
Police investigators who spoke to some witnesses said the bus had "engine problems" but the possibility of human error cannot be discounted. -- Reports from Mae Cornes and Diane Rivera, ABS-CBN News Northern Luzon; ANC; Johnson Manabat and Dexter Ganibe, dzMM