Lawmaker eyes P15B Fine vs Grab
And its on like Donkey Kong! Ride-hailing app Grab slammed a lawmaker after the latter expressed his firm belief that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should slap a P15 billion fine for allegedly overcharging 3 million users of the said app. According to Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA Partylist) Rep. Jericho Nograles, Grab Philippines' declaration to comply with the order of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to pay the P23.45 Million fine is a direct admission that it has been charging excessive fares from 3 Million riders from February to May of 2019. However, in a separate statement, Grab claimed that it did not overcharge its riders and has no liability to pay any fine, contrary to Nograles' claim. Grab Philippines chief Brian Cu maintained its stand that they were well within the fare matrix of the LTFRB, its regulator, although the PCC imposed a fine of P5 million based on lower fares. "We complied with our regulator but in the interest of showing good faith, we will comply with the PCC although clearly we could have filed a motion for reconsideration or appealed to a higher authority, which we did not since we want to focus on our business instead," Cu said. Nograles explained that such penalty should should translate to a total of P15 Billion in fines, citing Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 of the Department of Transportation, each offense committed merits a fine of P5,000. The lawmaker also said that should Grab would not receive any charges from the regulator, "it can be argued that Grab is being favored, tantamount to Graft." Nograles said that Grab's action should serve as a "smoking gun" for the LTFRB to impose lawfully mandated penalties for overcharging its riders and deny all appeals related to previous fines imposed by the LTFRB. “With this smoking gun, Secretary Tugade can already see clearly that Grab is in the habit of overcharging its riders,” Nograles said. "Grab's acceptance of the PCC ruling should already serve as a basis for the LTFRB to slap fines against Grab for overcharging because after all, fare regulation is its primary mandate," Nograles added. Cu junked Nograles claims as "incorrect, misleading, irresponsible and will only hurt the morale of drivers who only want to make a decent living by serving the riding public.” " The penalties imposable by the LTFRB under JAO 2014-01 should not be confused with the penalty imposed by the PCC. Grab’s fares continue to comply with the LTFRB fare matrix, and therefore there is absolutely no basis to apply the provisions of JAO 2014-01 cited by Rep Nograles," Cu said. Further, Grab claimed that the lawmaker" has been obsessed with putting Grab down at every opportunity" even without any basis "for reasons he alone knows". "His antics will not benefit the riding public and the drivers. Why he continues to do so remains a mystery," he added. Grab clarified in its statement that contrary to the recent statement of Rep Nograles, Grab has not made any form of admission of allegedly 3 Million offenses of ‘overcharging’. " What Grab said in the press conference last November 22 was there is no overcharging, and that there are around 3 Million passengers that would receive the payment of PhP 5.05M in total fines as ordered by the PCC," it explained.