Friday, January 17, 2014

Mayor Bongat takes over Central Bus Terminal

The parking lots inside the Naga City Central Bus Terminal are currently empty of buses and passengers as tension due to  the takeover grips the facility (PHOTO: OSCAR ESMENDA/BICOL STANDARD)
NAGA CITY—Chaos and confusion engulfed commuters and bus drivers here when the city government, through Mayor John Bongat, took over the operation of the controversial Central Bus Terminal at one o’clock in the morning.

Members of the Philippine National Police, security personnel, as well as supporters of businessman Fortunato “Tato” Mendoza swooped into the area to provide safety and support to the opposing sides.

Reports have it that packets of brawl were noted when Mayor Bongat barricaded the Central Bus Terminal with heavy equipment that belongs to the city government.

Bongat was backed by City Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion. Both stayed until 7 o’clock in the morning to secure the area and exclude Tato Mendoza and his supporters from operating the terminal.

It will be recalled that the city government late last year decided to take over the operation of the terminal.

Vehemently objecting, Mendoza filed two cases against the city officials. One of these was raffled to Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19 and the other to Branch 62.

In both cases, Mendoza prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), and later, an injunction.

Both RTC branches issued TROs.

Bongat, in an open session in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, revealed that he and the other officials considered the TROs to be abuses of the judges’ power.

Meanwhile, because of the closure of the terminal, bus drivers were forced to park on the sides of the Maharlika Highway to continue their operation.

Many passengers complained about the inconvenience that they suffered due to the tension in the terminal.

Vendors in the terminal, likewise, showed dismay, because of the fact that they lost business opportunities because of the disruption.

It was learned this morning that Hon. Zeida Garfin yesterday dismissed the case filed by Mendoza against the City Hall.

Since the court did not issue an injunctive writ, the city government believed that there was no more any legal obstacle to prevent their takeover of the terminal.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with Mendoza, he said that they will not as yet abandon the premises of the terminal pending resolution of legal issues.

He stated that he will confer with his legal team to discuss other remedies regarding the controversy.

Empty parking spaces (PHOTO: OSCAR ESMENDA/BICOL STANDARD)

Confused commuters (PHOTO: OSCAR ESMENDA/BICOL STANDARD)

Buses parked the Central Bus Terminal (PHOTO: OSCAR ESMENDA/BICOL STANDARD)

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