The Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (MTC-QC) acquitted a transport leader against charges filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in 2017.
Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) president emeritus George San Mateo said MTC-QC Branch 43 acquitted him of the charges filed by the transport agency in connection with his role in the nationwide transport strikes opposing the LTFRB’s so-called jeepney modernization program.
“According to the court, I am acquitted of the charge against me by the LTFRB of allegedly violating the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act No 146) when I was PISTON president,” San Mateo said.
MTC-QC Branch 43 conducted an open court promulgation of his case that he watched online, San Mateo said.
Then PISTON president, San Mateo led nationwide strikes against the so called jeepney modernization scheme in February and October of 2017 which the LTFRB said is disallowed and may lead to cancellations of permits to operate.
San Mateo said the court’s decision has validated their stand that the jeepney drivers’ right to hold strikes is more important than LTFRB’s threats.
“This should be considered a victory for the right of PUV drivers, small operators and the people to peaceably and militantly assemble to air their legitimate grievances and aspirations,” San Mateo said.
San Mateo called on both drivers and passengers to carry on the fight against the phase out of jeepneys and the “business of fake public utility vehicle modernization by the Duterte, Department of Transportation and LTFRB regimes.”
The decision was released two years to the day when San Mateo was arrested and allowed to post bail. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)