Let’s be fair to PECO

I LIKED IT when incoming Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said: “I feel I don’t owe him (President Duterte) this position.”

If this means that Bersamin will ensure the independence of the Judicial Branch, then I am all for it.

The Supreme Court has suffered since May 17, 2010 when Chief Justice Reynato Puno reached mandatory retirement age. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo then appointed Renato Corona as Chief Justice. A midnight appointment said the Constitution.

Eventually, Corona was ousted and youthful (born 1960) Aquino appointee Maria Lourdes Sereno. She, too, was dumped and now President Rodrigo Duterte is working his way through the several “senior” SC Judges born between 1948 and 1952. It is possible that we shall see eight Chief Justices in 12 years (2010-2022). Not a recipe for stability.

There is no shortage of work to be done, however. Bersamin, it seems, is a staunch disciplinarian and if he reduces incompetence and corruption amongst the judiciary, then his 11 month stint as CJ will ensure a useful legacy.


Our extended family is scattered between areas covered by Panay Electric Company (PECO) and Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO). We have experienced more and longer brownouts (both planned and unplanned) in CENECO areas compared to PECO. Other aspects, billing etc. are fairly level.

Overall, we have not experienced the horror stories in Iloilo that have been cited by others. We would not have been heartbroken if PECO’s application, made in 2017, for a 25 years franchise (2019-2044) had been approved.

We are, however, uneasy about MORE Power’s assertion of the right of eminent domain over PECO’s assets. I always thought that eminent domain was the right of the government to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation. In a democracy, the right of eminent domain tends to be used prudently as we have seen in some cases which are affecting the “build, build, build” program.

We are confronted with a situation where a private sector entity is claiming eminent domain over another private sector entity. Is this appropriate?

This may be a novel situation and, if so, should be elevated to the Supreme Court as PECO has indicated it would anyway.

The performance of the Legislative Branch in PECO/MORE Power imbroglio is not satisfactory. It has given the authority to MORE Power when MORE Power is demonstrably unable to meet its responsibilities. Without PECO’s generous offer to continue after its franchise period has expired (Jan. 19, 2019), Iloilo denizens would be uncertain as to the availability of electricity.

If PECO had said that it is not prepared to operate after the expiry of its franchise, what would have happened? After all, PECO is being dumped. Where I come from, dumpees have no obligations.

Is this a job for Cool Hand Luke?/PN


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