PAO to provide legal assistance to families of Tanay bus crash victims

MANILA — Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda – Acosta on Tuesday said that PAO lawyers will provide legal assistance to the families of the victims on the bus crash that killed 14 students in Tanay, Rizal.

Acosta said that the team of PAO lawyers would study possible negligence of the school apart from its civil liabilities.

Photos by Apolinario S. De Roma jr/Northbound Philippines News

The team is led by public attorney Mariel Baja, sister of one of the 14 passengers of the Florida Trans bus that plunged into a ravine in Mountain Province in 2014.

Acosta said that the BestLink College of the Philippines could be held liable for the bus crash in its National Service Training Program (NSTP) trip that the waiver signed by students or their parents stating that school will not be held liable in case of accidents.

“There could be civil liability on the part of the school. The waiver, if there’s really any, was unilateral on the part of the school. It was not a license to allow the deaths and injuries,” Acosta explained.

The PAO chief cited media reports quoting parents of the victims that the school required the students to attend the medical and survival training at Sacramento Adventure Camp in Tanay as part of the NSTP program.

Acosta called on the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education to temporarily suspend all field trips in schools and colleges to prevent similar incidents.

Acosta said the criminal and civil liability of Julian Lacorda Jr., driver of the Panda Coach bus that smashed into an electric post, have been extinguished due to his death in the incident.

Based on initial investigation, Lacorda lost control of the wheel and then lost his brakes.

Probers said the Panda Coach bus was only sub-contracted by Harana Tours bus line, which had been provider of the BestLink school for the said event in the past 10 years.