Florida buses only have minor defects: lawyer
MANILA -- The lawyer of G.V. Florida Transport Inc. maintained that the company's bus units are in good working condition and only have minor defects.
Speaking to ANC's "Headstart" on Wednesday, Atty. Alex Versoza said the defects found by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) during their inspection of the buses had nothing to do with the accident itself.
He also claimed that the crash in Bontoc, Mountain Province that left 15 people dead is an isolated case.
Aside from Friday's fatal crash, Florida Transport has had no other serious incidents, he said.
"The 15 dead came from a single incident. In so far as the road worthiness inspection being conducted by the LTO, my understanding is that indeed there were defects noted. But these are minor defects like the absence of stickers, which has nothing to do with the road worthiness of the bus but more on the compliance," Versoza said.
"[Minor defects] in seat belts, tail light, windshield had nothing to with the mechanical road worthiness of the buses," he added.
Versoza also claimed that poor road condition was to blame for the plunging of the Florida bus into a deep ravine.
"It could be that the brakes were no longer capable because of the downslope and weight of the bus, then there were other defects in the road. There was an ongoing riprapping and sand was scattered on top of the concrete road. So even if the brake works, the tire would no longer hold against the pavement or the cement," he said.
Nonetheless, the lawyer also admitted that the bus company committed violations when it used an old plate number of a phased-out vehicle.
"In effect, G.V. Florida has pleaded guilty because we have admitted that the license plate TXT 872 belongs to the old unit of Mr. Que that was bought by Florida," he said.
The LTFRB earlier said 10 out of the 238 units of Florida Transport, including the one that figured in the Bontoc accident, were registered under Mt. Province Cable Tours owned by Norberto Que Sr.
No application for approval of sale and transfer has been filed by Que in favor of Florida Transport, it said.
LTFRB: Road condition not the issue
Meanwhile, LTFRB executive director Roberto Cabrera said that despite the claims of Florida Transport that the road condition in Bontoc is to be blamed, it does not change the fact that the ill-fated bus was colorum and should not have been on the road in the first place.
Cabrera also noted that the LTFRB may grant special permits to other bus companies after Florida Transport claimed that they may be accused of abandonment of service.
Cabrera, however, said that there are other bus companies which can service the needs of commuters. -- With report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News