ILOILO City – Panay Electric Co. (PECO) is seeking to bar former employees from testifying against it in rival More Electric and Power Corp.’s (MORE Power) expropriation petition.
The Regional Trial Court (Branch 37) is set to hear the petition for writ of possession filed by MORE Power against PECO today at 2 p.m.
“We will file a motion for the suspension of the testimony of witnesses, most especially if they are retired employees of PECO who signed quitclaims,” said Mikel Afzelius, PECO corporate communications and external affairs officer.
The pairing judge of Branch 37, Judge Oliver Gelvezon, will preside the hearing as Judge Marie Yvette Go is on study leave.
“The moment they become witnesses, we will enforce the quitclaims they signed,” said Afzelius.
But because PECO “values our relationship with our retired employees…we will be filing a motion for the suspension of their testimonies para ma-avoid nga mangin liable sila,” he stressed.
PECO, said Afzelius, does “not want them placed in a bad position.”
It was unclear as of this writing how many former PECO employees MORE Power enlisted as witnesses in the expropriation case.
MORE Power, the new power distributor here, is seeking to take over serviceable power distribution assets of PECO whose franchise expired on Jan. 19, 2019.
On March 11 this year MORE Power filed a petition at the RTC here for the expropriation of these assets.
The petition was filed five days after PECO asked the RTC in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila to issue a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against MORE Power and all government agencies tasked to implement Republic Act 11212 which is MORE Power’s franchise law.
On March 12, the Mandaluyong court issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping MORE Power from, among others, commencing expropriation proceedings against PECO’s power distribution assets.
However, a week after, MORE Power was able to secure a 60-day TRO from the Court of Appeals’ Special 17th Division against the 20-day TRO granted to PECO./PN