Why bus crash victims won't sue Don Mariano

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2014 02:30 AM | Updated as of Jan 30 2014 10:30 AM

MANILA -- Don Mariano Transit Corporation, owner of a bus that fell off the Skyway last December, has given P150,000 to all victims of the crash, who correspondingly signed quit claims.

During the House Committee on Transportation's congressional investigation on the bus crash on Wednesday, Kabataan Party List Rep. Terry Ridon also expressed concern over the plight of the laid-off bus workers due to the wholesale cancellation of the bus line's franchise.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board cancelled Don Mariano's franchise following the crash, which the LTFRB earlier justified before the panel.

"LTFRB said this is the first time that they did a wholesale cancellation of the franchise. Skyway said their cameras showed that the bus ran way above the speed limit," Ridon said.

Ridon added, "We also questioned whether LTFRB gravely abused its discretion in the wholesale cancellation of the franchise because it was based on previous suspensions, non-roadworthiness of the vehicles, participation in an MMDA protest, and non-registration of an engine in one of its buses."

Ridon described the hearing as more of "a fact-finding exercise," as the panel gave no actual recommendations of action.

For his part, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo sought the enforcement of the rule on the mandatory phaseout of 15-year-old public buses and their immediate replacement of new units, to promote road safety and prevent frequent accidents involving public vehicles.

Castelo said that in the hearing, LTFRB chair Winston Ginez admitted there is a "loophole" in the implementation of the existing rule on 15-year-old public buses: a Bureau of Customs rule states that the date of reckoning starts on the date an imported second hand bus enters the country, and not the date of its manufacture, unlike locally procured public buses.