SM Group insists MRT-LRT common station MOA ‘valid’
MANILA, Philippines – Henry Sy-owned SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) reiterated Tuesday, June 10, before the Pasay City regional trial court (RTC) that there was an existing and “valid” contract on the location of the proposed P1.4-billion Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit (MRT-LRT) common station.
The common station will connect LRT 1 from Baclaran to Monumento; MRT 3 from North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Ave. in Pasay City; and the proposed MRT 7 of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation. MRT 7 will run from Caloocan City and pass through Lagro and Fairview, Novaliches, Batasan, Diliman, Philcoa, before ending at EDSA.
SMPHI filed a case before the Pasay City RTC against the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA). It sought an order to prevent the transfer of the proposed common station to the Trinoma Mall of Ayala Land Inc. from the SM North EDSA mall.
The memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by SMPHI and LRTA and was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on July 7, 2009 had lapsed in 2011, DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said Monday, June 9.
The MOA also stated that SMPHI would have the naming rights to the proposed common station in exchange for P200 million.
Pasay City RTC directed the DOTC and LRTA to file an opposition within 5 days on the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO).
SMPHI has 3 days to comment on the opposition before the judge decides whether or not to issue a TRO.
Pasay City RTC did not issue a TRO during Tuesday’s hearing as both parties were given more time to file their respective pleadings, Sagcal said.
“We are pleased that no TRO has been issued by the court,” Sagcal said.
SMPHI legal counsel Ryan San Juan said the MOA entered into by the company and the LRTA in July 2009 had no expiration date.
“There is no expiry date and if there was, SMPHI was not aware of that,” San Juan stressed.
San Juan said SMPHI has a copy of the MOA as approved by the NEDA - Investment Coordination Committee.
San Juan added DOTC and LRTA admitted before Pasay City RTC Branch 11 Judge Wilhelmina Wagan during Tuesday’s hearing that the MOA clearly indicated that the location of the common station should be SM North EDSA mall.
San Juan pointed out it was the fault of both the DOTC and LRTA the contract was not executed immediately.
“Further, it could only be the DOTC/LRTA's delay which caused the same. They cannot use their failure to timely implement the project to justify a sudden change in the location of the [common] station. They cannot use what was caused by their own fault to throw our contract away,” the SMPHI said in an earlier statement.
Last week, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government would save between P800 million and P1 billion if the proposed common station were constructed near the Trinoma Mall. – Rappler.com