OSCA allowing unlawful exception?
Elder relatives in Quezon City have complained that some malls within the city refuse to grant free parking to senior citizens by reason of the exclusion stated in the rules and regulations implementing QC Ordinance No. 2081, s. 2011 (IRRs). The ordinance explicitly provides that “senior citizens of Quezon City are exempt from payment of the initial rate of parking fees in malls, hospitals… and other similar places within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City”… and can avail of such privilege by merely presenting their OSCA-issued IDs upon entering. No exceptions are stated in the ordinance. Only overnight parking is outside its ambit and is charged differently.
Under the IRRs enforced by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), parking facilities installed with automatic entry gadgets are explicitly excluded—because there is no one there to check the IDs? Of all the cockamamie excuses, that one really takes the cake! The most notorious beneficiary of that unwarranted and unlawful exception is SM City (North Edsa)—bruited to be the third biggest mall in all of Asia and presumably the largest crowd-drawer in this country.
By dint of jurisprudence in administrative law, where the statute allows no exceptions, neither should anyone. By what authority then did the OSCA make such exception? We called OSCA to inquire about the matter and the officer in charge there referred us to the legal officers in the Office of the City Mayor (OCM) who he said had reviewed and approved the same. When we got in touch with one such legal officer, he referred us back to the OSCA which he said was the office specifically created to deal with such matters!
The lobby to finagle such exclusion from the coverage of the law must be irresistible! As we write this, we are preparing a criminal charge for filing with the Ombudsman under Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) against the officials of the OCM and the OSCA responsible for “giving any party any unwarranted benefits… in the discharge of (their) official functions, through manifest partiality… or gross inexcusable negligence.”
—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Monsanto Law Office,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City,
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