KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 20 December) – The management of Yellow Bus Line, Inc. has vowed to file contempt charges against Koronadal Mayor Eliordo Ogena and other city hall officials for shutting down the company’s private terminal here.
Cecile Diel, Yellow Bus spokesperson, slammed city hall officials for closing the firm’s private terminal that caused inconvenience to the commuting public.
“Their action reflects a sense of impunity. It is a blatant disregard of the rule of law,” she said in a press conference late Monday afternoon in mixed English and Ilonggo.
Last Friday, Ogena ordered the shutdown of the private terminal of Yellow Bus along GenSan Drive in Zone 3 due to lack of a business permit.
Ogena said the firm allegedly violated the revenue code and the zoning ordinance of the city, which forced the city government to close its private terminal.
The mayor added that city hall has issued several cease-and-desist orders and notices of closure to the company to settle the issue, but the firm apparently disregarded them.
There was no public announcement from city hall that the Yellow Bus terminal would be closed last Friday.
The sudden closure of the Yellow Bus terminal caused discomfort to many passengers of the company. Several of its bus units with passengers were stopped while going out of the city, forcing the commuters to transfer to other rides.
Ogena issued an apology to the inconvenience caused to the riding public by the sudden closure of the Yellow Bus terminal on Friday.
In December 2019, the bus company obtained a favorable ruling from a local court, which issued a writ of execution against the implementation of City Ordinance No. 9 Series of 2018.
The ordinance required all buses and passenger vans operating here to utilize the city public integrated terminal in the interior Robredo Avenue, which is a bit far from the city’s commercial districts compared to the Yellow Bus terminal.
In its ruling, the court ordered the city mayor and concerned offices to refrain from implementing the ordinance on Yellow Bus, which for decades operated from its private terminal near the city’s commercial center.
The ruling has been elevated to the Court of Appeals.
Ogena, a lawyer, said the city government “respects” the decision of the local court, reiterating they closed the Yellow Bus terminal because it lacks a business permit for two years.
Diel, also a lawyer and member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of South Cotabato, said that Yellow Bus “is not obliged” to get a business permit for its private terminal from the local government since common carriers are governed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Diel also took exception to the claim of city hall that Yellow Bus violated the zoning ordinance.
She showed reporters a copy certified by the local government that the Yellow Bus terminal conforms to the zoning requirement of the city.
Diel decried the closure of Yellow Bus terminal as a form of harassment from the city government.
With the closure of its private terminal, Yellow Bus is now operating from its garage also along the national highway and some one kilometer away from the former.
The city government welcomed the right of the company to seek legal action.
Diel said that indirect contempt imposes a fine of not more than P30,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both, at the discretion of the court. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)