MANILA - The Supreme Court has upheld the 2014 Department of Transportation order allowing fare adjustment for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) lines.
In a statement on Friday, the SC Public Information Office said the court dismissed the petitions against Department Order 2014-014.
The SC en banc, in a decision penned by Justice Joseph Lopez, ruled that the then-Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) "substantially complied with the notice and hearing requirements", contrary to the claim of the petitioners.
The high court said the DOTC published a Notice of Public Consultation on January 20 and 27, 2011 in two newspapers. On February 4 and 5, 2011, public consultations were held. In 2013, the DOTC published anew a notice for the public consultation scheduled on December 12, 2013.
"While the fare increase took effect only on December 20, 2014, the Court held that the previous public consultations substantially serve the purpose of the hearing requirement under the law, as the proposed fare structure was retained and the original basis and purpose for the proposed hike remained the same," SC said.
The high court also ruled that the rates provided for in the 2014 order were reasonable and just.
"Without a clear showing that the DOTC or the LTRA acted arbitrarily, their findings regarding the fare increase under D.O. 2014-014 must be respected," it said.
Power to increase fare valid delegation
The SC also ruled that the rate-fixing power of administrative agencies is a valid delegation of legislative power in response to the growing complexity of society, the multiplication of government regulation subjects, and the increased difficulty of administering laws.
The DOTC's power to fix rates was validly delegated by Congress in the Administrative Code of 1987 which applies to the MRT-3, LRT-1, and LRT-2, it said.
The DOTC's power to increase fares is subject to limitations provided for in the LRT's charter.
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