Transport Group Piston Leader George San Mateo who led the strike against the PUV modernization program was arrested by the authorities for violating Commonwealth Act 146 also known as Public Service Act.
The cops arrested him in front of the Quezon City Hall of Justice, where he would supposed to post bail to free himself temporary from the charges.
He was accompanied by Representatives Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis and Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers to help him to insist the right of the militant leader to post a P4,000 bail.
However, the authorities arrested him before he reached the Q.C hall to post a bail and brought him at the precinct to pose for a mugshot.
Arrest order vs. George San Mateo
Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe slammed the warrant against San Mateo and she said that the timing of the arrest is “suspect and casts doubt on the intent of the complainant in filing such charges.”
Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services and committee, has called for an urgent senate hearing to discuss the problems of the transport sectors on the PUV modernization program.
“The PUV modernization program should be borne from a democratic process and not from underhanded tactics. After all, it is through the labor and industry of these jeepney drivers and operators that our commuters are able to travel from one point to another despite the failure of the government to provide better mass transportation options,” Poe said.
“Everyone has the right to peaceably assemble. It is unclear based on the cited section of the Public Service Act (PSA) what exactly San Mateo violated,” she added.
According to the LTFRB, despite of the prohibition on the conduct of a transport strike, San Mateo still made a statement that his group will pursue a transport strike on February 27, which resulted to a nationwide ‘Tigil Pasada’ of jeepneys.
They explained that San Mateo violated the Public Service Act as conducting a transport strike is an “adoption or application of a measure which affects the public in relation to the public service which the transport sector was supposed to provide.”
Section 20 (k) of Commonwealth Act No. 146 states that any operator engaged in public service business shall “adopt, maintain, or apply practices or measures, rules or regulations to which the public shall be subject in its relations with the public service.”