Feb 23, 2021 @ 13:13

Metro Manila Turf Club loses bid to keep operating beyond April 2020

The Court of Appeals (CA) has annulled the injunctions preventing the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) and the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) from stopping the operations of the Metro Manila Turf Club, Inc. (MMTCI) beyond the expiration of its franchise last April 22, 2020.

In a recent 9-page decision, the CA 15th Division annulled the writs of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 278 Judge Jaime Fortunato Caringal on November 19, 2019 and September 11, 2020 in favor of MMTCI.

The CA also dismissed the petition for injunction filed by MMTCI assailing Philracom’s September 25, 2019 letter advising the company that it would revise its draft racing calendar and issue racing permits only until April 2020.

It said MMTCI should have questioned the letter before Philracom and/or appealed it before the Office of the President (OP), instead of filing a petition for injunction before the RTC.

The CA cited Sections 8 and 9 of Presidential Decree Number 407, which gave Philracom the “exclusive jurisdiction and control over every aspect of the conduct of horse-racing.”

“Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, it is mandated that where a remedy before an administrative body is provided by statute, relief must be sought by exhausting this remedy prior to bringing an action in court in order to give the administrative body every opportunity to decide a matter that comes within its jurisdiction,” the CA said.

The CA said the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued the WPIs, first against the Philracom advisory and then against the GAB’s order enjoining MMTCI from conducting any betting operation until its legislative franchise is renewed.

MMTCI argued that its 25-year franchise under Republic Act Number 7978 should be reckoned from the ratification of Republic Act Number 8298 on June 6, 1997, effectively delaying the expiration of its franchise.

This was because the latter amended the former to state that it was granted a 25-year franchise “any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding.” #

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