Iloilo judge decries politicization of power firm’s expropriation case

Published January 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Tara Yap

A lower court judge in Iloilo City decried the politicization of the expropriation case between the power firm owned by port magnate Enrique Razon Jr. and embattled power firm Panay Electric Co. (PECO).

The main headquarters of Panay Electric Co. (PECO), the power utility in Iloilo City locked in a legal battle with another private firm for electricity distribution. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)
The main headquarters of Panay Electric Co. (PECO), the power utility in Iloilo City locked in a legal battle with another private firm for electricity distribution. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“This case has been observed to become too politicized,” said Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo Amular of the Regional Trial Court (RTC Branch 35).

“It may be respectfully suggested, for the best interest of the parties, the case be transferred outside the jurisdiction of the RTC of Iloilo,” emphasized Amular in a statement released to the media.

Amular finally spoke up after Roel Z. Castro and Atty. Hector Teodosio, president and legal counsel, respectively, of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), asked the Supreme Court (SC) last month to dismiss him.

Amular was accused of “grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law, and violation of the Code of Judicial Ethic” for allegedly delaying the expropriation case, which the judge denied.

To recall, MORE Power had been issued a government franchise last year to distribute power despite not having its own single facility. But the law granting its franchise stipulates that it can possess the assets and facilities of PECO, which failed to renew its franchise.

Amular pointed out that there was no legal precedent before the Philippine judiciary with the type of expropriation—the transfer of a public utility from one private firm to another private firm.

“So many legal issues confront the court. Hence, it is most unfair to charge the court it is delaying the case,” Amular expressed.

Meanwhile, Amular considered the administrative complaint before the SC as a form of harassment

“The administrative complaint as publicized is based on allegations. It is a basic precept that he who alleges must prove, and that mere allegations by themselves would not be given weight because it does not amount to evidence,” Amular added.

 
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