AND IT’S GETTING more and more absurd (no pun intended) but this ongoing striptease between MORE Electric and Power Corp. or MORE Power and Panay Electric Co. or PECO has been titillating the natives of “I Am Iloilo City” to the point of exasperation.
Indeed, the power struggle (pun intended) as to who will be the sole power provider of “I Am Iloilo City” has turned into a one-upmanship contest.
Who will blink first?
With the expiration of PECO’s franchise and the subsequent granting by Congress a franchise to MORE Power it would seem that it’s all over but the shouting. At least it seems to appear that way.
Then again that’s easier said than done. PECO is not about to give up almost 100 years of monopoly as power provider of “I Am Iloilo City”, not to mention the huge profits that go with it.
The natives of “I Am Iloilo City” were just waiting for the inevitable and seem poised to welcome with open arms the takeover of MORE Power but not just yet.
Excerpts from the July 10, 2019 issue of Panay News:
PECO SCORES BIG VS MORE POWER
Court voids 2 sections of power distribution franchise law
More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) suffered a legal setback in its fight against Panay Electric Co. (PECO) to distribute power in this city. Two sections of its franchise law were “void and unconstitutional”, according to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 209 in Mandaluyong City.
In a decision dated July 1, Judge Monique A. Quisumbing-Ignacio ruled that Section 10 (Right of Eminent Domain) and Section 17 (Transition of Operations) of MORE Power’s Republic Act (RA) No. 11212 infringed on PECO’s right to due process and equal protection of the law.
The court further made permanent the temporary restraining order it issued on March 14, 2019 enjoining MORE Power, the Department of Energy and Energy Regulation Commission from enforcing RA 11212, including but not limited to commencing or pursuing expropriation proceedings against PECO.
In its bid to hold on to power distribution in Iloilo City, PECO on March 6 filed a petition for declaratory relief at RTC Mandaluyong with application for a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction.
MORE Power answered this by filing on March 11 a petition at the RTC of Iloilo City for the expropriation of PECO’s power distribution assets.
There were no dancing in the streets nor chilled bottles of Engkanto Beer that day as that Mandaluyong RTC ruling is just that – a ruling. And unfortunately, PECO is in “I Am Iloilo City” not in Mandaluyong City.
Meanwhile, still from the July 10, 2019 issue of Panay News:
MORE Power to challenge RTC ruling in higher courts
MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) will ask the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court to review the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City declaring as unconstitutional the “Right of Eminent Domain” and “Transition of Operations” sections of its franchise law.
Also, according to Atty. Hector Teodosio, MORE Power legal counsel, the ruling of RTC Mandaluyong has “no bearing” on the pending Petition for Writ of Possession with RTC Branch 37 in Iloilo City.
“They are independent and co-equal courts,” stressed Teodosio.
On March 11 this year, MORE Power filed a petition at RTC Branch 37 for the expropriation of PECO’s power distribution assets, citing Section 10 (Right of Eminent Domain) of its franchise law, Republic Act 11212, authorizing it to take possession of, exercise control over, and manage and operate all of the power distribution assets in Iloilo City.
“Wala power or authority ang RTC Mandaluyong kontra sa RTC in Iloilo in the same manner that the RTC in Iloilo wala power or authority over RTC Mandaluyong,” Teodosio stressed.
Teodosio also clarified that the RTC Mandaluyong judgment is not yet final and executory.
It turns out there’s really nothing to celebrate as the inevitable is still happening and the power play (again pun intended) continues in court.
At the end of the day the natives of “I Am Iloilo City” really don’t care who the power provider is as long as the rates are reasonable, there are no frequent power interruptions, and there is good customer service./PN