SC halts fixed salary scheme for bus drivers

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2012 02:58 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2012 03:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) The Supreme Court (SC) issued, in its en banc session today, a status quo ante order on the implementation of fixed wages for public utility bus drivers and conductors.

The SC voted unanimously.

The resolution effectively restores the status quo -- the commission scheme -- prior to the issuance of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order No. 118-12, Series of 2012 which was implemented on July 1.

SC acting public information officer Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra told reporters that bus drivers and conductors who were not able to receive their respective commissions effective July 1 should be refunded.

The DOLE and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were directed to file their comment within 10 days.

The Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP), Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Inc. (SOLUBOA), Inter-city Bus Operators Association (INTERBOA), and City of San Jose Del Monte Bus Operators Association (CSJDMBOA) brought to the Supreme Court on July 4 their opposition to the DOLE order.

The 24-page petition assailed the constitutionality of the order on the following grounds:

1. The order shall force operators to abandon existing employment arrangements between them and their respective bus drivers and conductors tantamount to breach of valid contracts entered into; and

2. The order violates the operators' right to due process and equal protection of laws for not conducting thorough consultations and for intending to implement the order first in Metro Manila.

Operators also claimed the move will lead to their "actual bankruptcy or ultimate corporate demise."

"The full compliance of the new rules is difficult, if not impossible and it is feared [that it] shall result in the cancellation or in the non-renewal of the Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC)... As a matter of fact, it could lead to their actual bankruptcy or ultimate corporate demise, in much the same fate as those suffered by those government-operated bus companies in the past," the petition read.