A commuter safety group on Friday questioned the endorsement of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for the company JoyRide to the government’s pilot run for ride-hailing motorcycle taxi services.
Trixie Mangahas of the Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection on Friday said Pimentel could be liable for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees by endorsing a private company to the government’s pilot run for motorcycle taxi services.
Noli Eala, JoyRide senior vice president for corporate affairs, earlier said they wrote Pimentel a letter in September 2019 seeking his endorsement to the Department of Transportation to be part of the study of the agency’s technical working group.
Pimentel on Friday acknowledged he had endorsed JoyRide’s request to join the pilot testing in 2019 but said the DOTr did not act on the endorsement.
The senator said the lawyers of Angkas, the established ride-hailing motorcycle taxi service, know that monopolies are prohibited under the law.
“In real life, if we make motorcycle taxis legal, it still cannot be a monopoly because that’s prohibited,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino. “A pilot testing program must reflect real-life situation and there should be competition and not a monopoly.”
“When JoyRide asked to be endorsed to join the pilot testing initial period I endorsed their interest to the DOTr, which the DOTr did not accommodate,” Pimentel said.
He pointed out that the initial pilot period ended in December 2019, without JoyRide being allowed to participate.
Lawyers Raymond Fortun and Ariel Inton, meanwhile, threatened to file a graft complaint against DOTr’s technical working group for “serious irregularities” in allowing JoyRide and Move It to be the pilot companies for three months.
Inton said nine other groups —VRoom Go, Citimuber, Trans-Serve, EsetGo, Go-jek, Grab, Hitch, Backryde and Hava App—applied to join the pilot run but were rejected.
Fortun, for his part, asked the executives of JoyRide about their move to seek help from Pimentel.