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Court Orders Halt in PNCC’s Toll Collection at Slex

MANILA, Philippines – The Pasig City Regional Trial Court has granted the petition of a group to stop the collection of toll fees at the South Luzon Expressway (Slex), radio dzBB reported Tuesday.

In a report over radio dzBB, GMA News’ Tina Panganiban-Perez said the court – in a decision dated June 23 – ruled in favor of the Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs of San Pedro, Laguna which said the Philippine National Construction Corporation and Toll Regulatory Board were illegally collecting toll fees at the Slex since May 1, 2007.

The report said according to lawyer Melvin Matibag, his group filed the case on April 2007 on the grounds that PNCC’s franchise has already expired and so it should stop collecting toll fees at the SLEX and turn-over its assets and facilities to the government.

Matibag said the TRB, instead of stopping PNCC, issued a toll operation certificate extending the franchise of PNCC.

The report said the court decision, aside from stopping the toll fee collection, ordered PNCC to turn over its assets and facilities to the government. However, the court decision was silent on what will happen to the fees collected by PNCC throughout the period in question.

Matibag said his group did not include in their complaint the collected fees so they will leave it up to the government whether it will refund the fees or not.

The report said the group is ready if the PNCC will appeal the court decision, even as it hoped the government will see that PNCC is not worthy of the franchise given to it due to many violations it has committed. - Amita Legaspi, GMANews.TV

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