ILOILO City – For Panay Electric Co. (PECO), it is premature for the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to set for hearing the petition for a Writ of Possession (WOP) filed by More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) and there is no urgency to it.
In a statement, Divina Law Office, legal counsel of PECO, stated the RTC here has not acted yet on PECO’s motion to suspend the expropriation proceedings given the pending case with the RTC of Mandaluyong City assailing the constitutionality of MORE Power’s franchise.
Iloilo City RTC Branch 37’s Judge Marie Yvette Go, on May 24, denied PECO’s motion for reconsideration to suspend the hearing and resolved that such hearing on the application for the issuance of a WOP filed by MORE Power shall proceed with dispatch since the case involved electricity, a basic necessity and that this is vested with public interest.
“Judge Yvette Go, prior to her two official leave, allowed the setting of the hearing for MORE Power’s application of writ of possession (WOP) depending on the availability of the Pairing Judge’s schedule but only if the RTC of Iloilo eventually rule to continue with the hearing on the WOP application,” Divina Law Office emphasized.
PECO further believed that there is likewise no urgency to set the WOP application for hearing as PECO recently secured from the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) granting it provisional authority to continue providing electricity supply to the city.
To recall, PECO prayed that the Order dated May 15, 2019 setting the hearing on the application for WOP be reconsidered and set aside by cancelling the scheduled hearing on May 23, 2019 and suspending further proceedings in this case until such time as defendant’s Motion to Suspend Proceedings is finally resolved with finality.
MORE Power, on the other hand, filed its opposition. It reasoned out that upon the filing of the expropriation case, there is already an application for WOP and a motion to set for hearing the application was then filed.
It further contends that its franchise law, Republic Act 11212, must be observed and the hearing for the purpose of the WOP is in accordance with and in pursuance to that law.
According to Jonathan Cabrera, MORE Power spokesperson, “Nauna na nga nag-rule si Judge Go that the hearing be set on May 23. Pero nag-file sila motion for reconsideration to suspend the said hearing. On May 23, nagkaroon sang oral discussion about it kag ginpangayo nila nga i-resolve ni Judge ang ila motion for reconsideration. Ginpasugtan sila kaya wala anay nag-present ang MORE sang evidence and witnesses (supposed to be part of the proceedings). May 24, nag-rule na si judge nga denied ang ila MR kag ginapa-proceed na ang hearing sang WOP nga pagakaptan sang pairing judge bangud ma-leave na sya.”
He added that once the hearing for WOP will be set by the pairing judge, MORE will present its evidences and witnesses and eventually the judge will rule whether he will issue the WOP or not./PN