BAGIO CITY – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 upheld the constitutionality of a local resolution prohibiting all inter-municipality utility vehicles passing through or going in the city to pick up passengers along existing Baguio jeepney routes and dismissed the petition for declaratory relief against the measure for lack of cause of action.
In a 13-page decision, Judge Cecilia Corazon S. Dulay-Archog pointed out the City Council, through Resolution No. 115, series of 2014, merely adopted Resolution No. 1, series of 2014 of the city’s Traffic Transportation Management Committee (TTMC) which was the product of research, various deliberations and public hearings.
The court added by adopting Resolution No. 115, series of 2014, the City Council was merely expressing its collective sentiment or opinion on the management of traffic incidents in the city, explaining that a resolution is different from an ordinance considering that the former is merely a declaration of sentiment or opinion of a law-making body on a specific matter while an ordinance is a law.
Further, Archog claimed a resolution is also of a temporary nature while an ordinance is more permanent.
When the City Council adopted the assailed resolution, the court stated it was for the noble purpose of maintaining peace and order among jeepney franchise holders.
“Who knows when circumstances change, the resolution by its temporary nature will be revised, amended or abandoned. The court will even accede that indeed during morning rush hours, commuters, with the bulk comprising of students and employees, line up in long queues with no jeepneys in sight. In such an extraordinary situation when there are no available jeepneys in the intra-city routes, it may be highly impractical to have an absolute prohibition on all jeepneys with inter-city routes not to pick up passengers,” the decision stressed.
The court recommended a modification of the resolution to accommodate instances as cited would also be helpful to all parties concerned, especially the commuting public.
However, the court still maintained that the questioned resolution is valid and that the concerns of petitioners regarding the imposition of penalties is baseless, thus, the provision in the resolution stating ‘that penalties, if any, shall be imposed’ is a mere surplusage and that no penalties have been mentioned or cited to have been imposed by the local legislative body.
The court stood firm on its stand that the arguments of the petitioners against the assailed resolution lack merit.
The City Council pointed out that the assailed resolution was enacted to administer or manage the common routes in the city and that it merely adopted Resolution No. 1, series of 2014 of the Traffic and Transportation Management Committee.
The local legislative body further argued that it is within the authority of the city to promote the welfare of the public and to issue regulations related to transportation.
Earlier, officials of jeepney associations with routes outside the city questioned the resolution considering that it is reportedly illegal and violates the equal protection clause of the constitution.
By Dexter A. See