Legal but immoral

NO turning back.

It appears that the Supreme Court (SC) has already made up its mind and nothing could stop it from going ahead with its earlier decision to junk various petitions that sought to stop the implementation of the increase in toll rates at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and consequently to other toll ways.

In its latest decision, the SC has also dismissed the petition of Albay Gov. Joey Salceda by declaring that the arguments raised by the governor had been resolved when it ruled on four similar petitions last month involving the toll rate increase.

“Considering that Gov. Salceda has not raised, in this recourse, any new issue, which has not been considered and passed upon in the earlier resolved petitions, this Court hereby resolves to dismiss his petition,” the SC said in an 11-page resolution promulgated Tuesday.

With that declaration, the high court has therefore effectively lifted the temporary restraining order on the implementation of the SLEX toll increase, which was made last Aug. 13 with respect to Salceda’s petition.

Now this is the part that really confuses me and all the other people that would surely be affected by this ‘harsh” verdict.

Anyway you look at it, the planned increase in toll fees which is expected to reach as high as 277 percent is “exorbitant and could certainly affect the lives and livelihood of thousands of people that are using and even those that are not using the toll ways.”

The increase will certainly have a negative “trickle-down effect” in as much as those who are using the toll ways to transport their goods would then be forced to increase their prices which in the process would affect the prices of basic goods once they reach the markets.

Consequently, the end users who are usually the ordinary people will then have to bear the burden of the effect of the High Court’s verdict.

Notwithstanding the legality of the ruling, what matters to the ordinary people is the result and how a particular issue is affecting them.

In this case, it appears that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled in favor of the toll way operators.

The least the TRB could have done is to grant the request for toll fee hike but not as high as 277 per cent or that they could have done it gradually.

Hence, the effect of the increase would not prompt substantial and profound negative effects to the lives of the ordinary people.

As they say, not all things that are legal are moral.

And anything that adversely affects the lives of thousands of people is certainly immoral although it hides under the cloak of a legal skirt. Bobby Ricohermoso


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