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The Regional Trial Court (RTC) has granted a 17-day extension on the 72-hour ex-parte restraining order issued by Executive Judge Fernando Fuentes blocking the implementation of a P20 terminal at the Tagbilaran City Port last Friday.

The fee remains at P11.25.

City Mayor Dan Lim, who filed the petition for injunction with prayer for preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order and ex-parte temporary restraining order at the RTC last Monday said, the extension granted by the court will be an opportunity to pose a legal challenge on the port fee hike implementation.

The 17-day TRO was issued by RTC Branch 47 Presiding Judge Suceso Arcamo who set the hearing on the application for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on June 13 and 14.

Expiration of the 17-day TRO is on June 17.

City Legal Officer Atty. Doni Piquero, counsel for Mayor Lim, argued on the "urgency and necessity of the extension of the TRO" as crucial in the hearing for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction adding that the non-issuance of which will "cause great irreparable injury and grave injustice on the commuting public…"

The increase, the mayor's petition stated, "is also untimely in view of the advent of the opening of classes" affecting students coming to and from Tagbilaran City.

On the other hand, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) claimed that the proposed P8.75 increase in terminal fee is being implemented in order to recover costs of a luggage X-Ray machine and passengers' Walk-through Detector installed at the Starlight Terminal building.

The machine was installed by PPA after a clamor for additional security at the city wharf.

In their reply to the petition, the PPA denied that the imposition of the additional terminal fee was done without a publice hearing.

In fact, Tagbilaran Port Acting Manager Aurelio Gambuta said during an interview with the Chronicle that on November 16, 2006, "no less than Vice Mayor Nuevas Montes of Tagbilaran City, represented the City Mayor, during the hearing where the terminal fee increase was proposed.

According to the PPA, the increase will be segregated from the P11.25 terminal fee presently collected by Starlight, the private firm operating terminal building operations.

The PPA explained that proceeds of the increase will actually go to them and that Starlight is just being "utilized to facilitate the collection to avoid inconvenience of the riding public."

Two stubs/tickets will be issued to the passenger, P11.25 for Starlight's terminal fee and P8.75 for the PPA.

The PPA also questioned whether Mayor Lim is filing the petition against the terminal fee hike as a private citizen or as city mayor, as he is availing of the services of the city legal officer (Piquero).

In his ruling, Arcamo stated "the principal issue at hand is whether or not the 72-hour TRO issued by the Executive Judge be extended or not, hence, the Court will refrain from ruling on the merits of the opposition filed by defendant PPA…"

Arcamo said PPA's opposition is "clearly evidentiary in character which can be best appreciated during the hearing on the application for issuance of a writ for preliminary injunction" and that "the task of the court is only to determine whether there is extreme need and urgency… to extend the TRO or deny the same." (Kit Bagaipo, Bohol Chronicle, 6/3/2007)

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City Hall Against Pier Terminal Fee Hike

Started by Ligalig-Mike on Talk of the Town

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Last post June 03, 2007, 08:57:00 AM
by Ligalig-Mike
 

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