San Pablo v. Pantranco South Express, Inc.

G.R. No. L-61461, 21 August 1987, 153 SCRA 199

FACTS:

Pantranco – engaged in the land transportation business with PUB service for passengersand freight and various certificates for public conveniences to operate passenger busesfrom Metro Manila to Bicol Region and Eastern Samar; through its counsel, it wrote toMaritime Industry Authority (MARINA) requesting authority to lease/purchase a vesselnamed M/V “Black Double” “to be used for its project to operate a ferryboat service fromMatnog, Sorsogon and Allen, Samar that will provide service to company buses and freighttrucks that have to cross San Bernardo Strait; request was denied by MARINA
It nevertheless acquired the vessel MV “Black Double”; it wrote the Chairman of the Boardof Transportation that it proposes to operate a ferry service to carry its passenger busesand freight trucks between Allen and Matnog in connection with its trips to Tacloban Cityfor the purpose of continuing the highway, which is interrupted by a small body of water,the said proposed ferry operation being merely a necessary and incidental service to itsmain service and obligation of transporting its passengers; that being so, it believed thatthere was no need for it to obtain a separate certificate for public convenience to operatea ferry service Matnog to cater exclusively to its passenger buses and freight trucks. BOTgranted the request. Cardinal Shipping Corporation and the heirs of San Pablo filedseparate motions for reconsideration.

ISSUE:

WON a ferry service is an extension of the highway and thus is a part of theauthority originally granted PANTRANCO; 2. WON a land transportation company can beauthorized to operate a ferry service or coastwise or interisland shipping service along itsauthorized route as an incident to its franchise without the need of filing a separateapplication for the same

HELD:

No.

Ferry- continuation by means of boats, barges, or rafts, of a highway or the connection of highways located on the opposite banks of a stream or other body of water. The termnecessarily implies transportation for a short distance, almost invariably between twopoints, which is unrelated to other transportation

Ferry service- service either by barges or rafts, even by motor or steam vessels, betweenthe banks of a river or stream to continue the highway which is interrupted by the body of water, or in some cases to connect two points on opposite shores of an arm of the seasuch as bay or lake which does not involve too great a distance or too long a time tonavigate(engaged in the coastwise trade) ,service between the different islands, involving more or less great distance and over moreor less turbulent and dangerous waters of the open sea, to be coastwise or inter-islandservice; considered coastwise or inter-island service conveyance of passengers, trucks and cargo from Matnog to Allen is certainly not a ferryboat service but a coastwise or interisland shipping service. Under no circumstance canthe sea between Matnog and Allen be considered a continuation of the highway. While aferry boat service has been considered as a continuation of the highway when crossingrivers or even lakes, which are small body of waters – separating the land, however, whenas in this case the two terminals, Matnog and Allen are separated by an open sea it cannot be considered as a continuation of the highway. PANTRANCO should secure a separate CPC for the operation of an interisland or coastwise shipping. Its CPC as a bustransportation cannot be merely amended to include this water service under the guisethat it is a mere private ferry service.

*Case digest by Karl Bation, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019

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