By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — The firm of billionaire Enrique Razon Jr. which has a government franchise to distribute power in this city is formalizing steps to expropriate assets of its rival Panay Electric Co. (PECO).
Roel Castro, president and CEO of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), confirmed it filed Monday a petition for expropriation before the Iloilo Hall of Justice.
“MORE Power has always been open to talk, but PECO remains adversarial. That is why we decided to go to court,” Castro told Manila Bulletin.
The petition came less than a week after PECO asked a Mandaluyong City court to issue temporary restraining order against MORE Power, which acquired its franchise when President Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11212 last February 14.
MORE Power wants the court to issue a writ of possession that would grant authority to control and use PECO’s facilities and assets. Castro explained this is stipulated in two sections of RA 11212.
MORE Power, which does not have a single facility in this city, also asked the court to calculate the monetary value of PECO’s assets. Castro has long said MORE Power is only willing to pay P481.8 million to PECO, but PECO claims its assets are worth almost P2 billion.
Citing the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, MORE Power reiterates that PECO’s assets are actually public property while “electricity is a basic necessity whose generation and distribution is imbued with public interest.”