ONE cannot squeeze blood out of a dry stone or water out of a parched land.
With this pronouncement, the Commission on Audit denied a petition by a group of former rank-and-file workers demanding the payment of P461.55 million as compensation for their unjust dismissal from the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).
In the five-page decision dated December 17, 2020 but released only yesterday, the COA Commission Proper said the LRTA is not the proper entity to pay the Pinag-isang Lakas ng mga Manggagawa sa LRT-National Federation of Workers’ Union-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Piglas-NFWU-KMU) and Sammy Malunes et.al.
Instead, COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc said the petition should have been filed against the Metro Transit Organization Inc. (MTOI), a separate government agency and subsidiary of LRTA which supplied the manpower needs of the latter.
However, there is a major problem – the MTOI was dissolved 21 years ago shortly after the non-renewal of its operations and management agreement with the LRTA. The termination of the agreement was the indirect result of an illegal strike staged by the Piglas-NFWU-KMU on July 25, 2000 which paralyzed LRT operations.