MANILA, Philippines – The SM group said it is not trying to derail the P65 billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) extension project, but just protecting its rights under an existing contract with government.
“Hindi nanggugulo ang SM. We are just protecting our rights under a valid and subsisting contract,” SM Prime legal counsel Atty. Ryan San Juan said on Friday.
SM has filed an injunction case before the Pasay court to stop the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) from moving the MRT-LRT common station from SM North EDSA mall, as originally agreed upon, to Ayala's Trinoma mall.
SM said it has paid a P200 million grant for a 2009 memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the DOTC and the Light Right Transit Authority to have the terminal in SM North EDSA.
“SM is not restraining the LRT1 Project. In fact, SM wants it to proceed, but in accordance with the terms of our MOA. That is why our main case is ‘specific performance’. The prayer for injunction is limited to enjoining the DOTC from acting in any way which is inconsistent with the terms our MOA,” San Juan said.
The DOTC, meanwhile, has defended its decision in choosing Trinoma mall as the location of the proposed common station, saying the new location will cost the government less.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya also noted that only the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to stop a major infrastructure project.
“It is a clear policy this is a national infrastructure project in which a TRO by the Supreme Court will be the only way to stop it. I think the government should not be deprived of seeing things in a different light,” Abaya said.
The controversial terminal was eventually made part of the LRT-1 extension project and was bidded out by government last week.
The lone bidder, the Metro Pacific-Ayala group, submitted a P9.36 billion to expand and operate LRT-1.