MOTORCYCLE-HAILING firm Angkas asked the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued last Dec. 7, which allows authorities to apprehend Angkas drivers.
In the petition filed Dec. 13 and released to the media on Thursday, Angkas claimed that the SC erred in issuing the TRO sought by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulation Board (LTFRB) as DOTr has already admitted that DBDOYC, Inc., the app provider of Angkas, is not within its jurisdiction.
Under Department Order (DO) No. 2015-11, DOTr recognized “pre-arranged transportation service using internet-based technology application or digital platform technology and that statutory law is yet to keep up with technological change.”
The DO also stated that a “Transport Network Company” is only required to get accreditation from the LTFRB “while waiting guidance from the legislature regarding regulation of the new industry and to promulgate the guidelines for their accreditation.”
Angkas also claimed that the LTFRB regulates public transportation services while the DBDOYC cannot be considered as public utilities or common carriers as the SC previously ruled that the determination whether one is a business of public utility depends on the nature of the service.
“DBDOYC is a software application provider and does not operate a transportation service,” the company said.
“Even the Angkas-accredited drivers are likewise not common carriers or public utilities as they do not hold out their services generally to the public and they may refuse at any time any legitimate demand for service,” it added.
It also pointed out that the TRO issued by the SC does not have definite period, which consequently means it serves as a preliminary injunction.
“(T)he restraining order thus effectively operates as a writ of preliminary injunction, which as stated may not be granted without prior notice and hearing,” Angkas said.
A preliminary injunction “may not be granted without hearing and prior notice to the adverse party” while a TRO is issued for matters of extreme urgency and is effective for 72 hours.
Angkas also claimed that the petition violated the hierarchy of courts for directly appealing to the SC the decision of a Mandaluyong regional trial court.
Although there are exceptions in defying the hierarchy of courts on the grounds of “special and important reasons clearly stated in the petition” and cases of national interest and of serious implications, the ride-hailing service claimed that the petitioners failed to justify in their complaint the jurisdiction of the high court.
“In short, by petitioners’ own presentation, there was no valid reason to skip the Court of Appeals in the hierarchy, much less forego the filing of a Motion for Reconsideration with the trial court,” Angkas said in the petition. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas