Grab appeals P10-M fine on 'illegal' P2-per-minute charge

MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing company Grab Philippines appealed for the reversal of the P10-million fine imposed by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) over the alleged illegal P2-per-minute charge.

In a 27-page motion for reconsideration, MyTaxi.PH, the registered company of Grab, said that LTFRB should "reverse and set aside" the July 9 order imposing fines and remibursement of the charge to its patrons for its "utter lack of merit."

"Respondent MyTaxi.PH respectfully prays that this Honorable Board reverse and set aside its order dated July 9, and in lieu of, issue a new one dismissing the show-cause order and case for utter lack of merit," the motion filed on July 19 said.

Grab argued that LTFRB's decision imposing fines on Grab "is contrary to law" because a department order allowing ride-hailing firms to set their own fares "was still valid" when they changed their fare structure.

The Department of Transportation Order (DO) 2015-11 gave transportation network companies (TNCs) the right to "set fares, subject to LTFRB's oversight."

Another order, DO 2017-11, was issued on June 19, 2017 – days after Grab imposed the charge – which allowed TNCs to have a "pre-arranged fare as authorized by the LTFRB".

"DO 2015-11 remains to be valid and effective until struck down as unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction," Grab argued.

"Moreover, the Horable Board failed to establish that said DO has been impliedly repealed by any subsequent issuances of DOTr…As a rule, repeal by implication is frowned upon, unless there is clear showing that the latter statute is irreconcilaby consistent," they added.

Grab said that despite the order allowing them to set fares on their own, they still "complied" with the oversight functions of the Board. (READ: Did Grab 'illegally' charge its riders higher fare?)

The decision to fine Grab was due to the complaint made by PBA Representative Jericho Nograles who accused the transport network company (TNC) of illegally charging its customers on top of its government-approved pricing scheme.

A December 2016 order regulated ride-hailing services fares, allowing Grab to charge a flagdown rate of P40, with an additional P10 to P14 per kilometer travel. The order does not include travel duration charges. 

The said charge has since been suspended. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.