In a bold move to rectify what it deems an unfair revenue-sharing arrangement, the Philippine Estate Authority Tollway Corporation (PEATC) has taken its battle for control of the Manila-Cavitex Expressway (CAVITEX) to the legal arena. At a press conference held at Max’s Restaurant in Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, PEATC’s Spokesperson, Atty. Ariel Inton, made their intentions clear: seeking a writ of mandamus from the Court of Appeals to regain control of the CAVITEX project.

Backing PEATC’s pursuit is its parent agency, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), which has pledged full support for the legal action. The crux of the matter lies in the perceived inequities of the current revenue-sharing agreement with Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC), a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), according to Inton. PEATC argues that the agreement heavily favors CIC, resulting in significant potential revenue loss for the government.

Inton emphasized the urgency of the situation, highlighting that further delays could lead to substantial annual losses for the government, conservatively estimated at one billion pesos. These funds, he stressed, could be redirected to benefit various reforms and projects under the Marcos administration.

Joining Inton at the press conference was PEATC’s Officer-in-Charge President, Dioscoro E. Esteban. Both PRA and PEATC expressed their willingness to pursue a peaceful settlement that safeguards the interests of the Filipino people.

Esteban shed light on the discrepancies and anomalies discovered during his brief tenure, including unaccounted funds and a lack of transparency in financial matters. Despite PEATC’s legal mandate, CIC has resisted handing over operational and maintenance responsibilities for CAVITEX.

According to Esteban, the joint venture with Malaysia for regional complementation dates back to 1984. However, he pointed out that CIC currently holds 90% ownership, raising concerns over fund handling and suspicions of mismanagement. The absence of financial statements for 14 years further compounds these suspicions.

PEACT asserts that the refusal of CIC to undergo government audits only deepens concerns over accountability. With the tollway’s profitability prompting questions about the government’s rightful share, PEATC, with the backing of PRA, has filed a mandamus petition to reclaim management rights.

Their objective is clear: to ensure the fulfillment of contractual obligations and to secure the government’s rightful share of toll revenues. PEATC envisions a tollway management system that is equitable, transparent, and ultimately benefits the public.

In their plea for Court of Appeals intervention, PEATC emphasizes the importance of upholding transparency and accountability in tollway operations. They believe that reclaiming management rights will not only lead to operational efficiency but also enhance employee welfare, signaling a step towards fairer tollway governance. (Photo by: Ben Briones)