By Jeffrey Damicog
The Court of Appeals (CA) has been asked to stop More Electric and Power Corporation (MORE) from taking over the power distribution assets of its rival Panay Electric Company (PECO).
DivinaLaw, PECO’s legal counsel, said a petition for certiorari has been filed before the CA which has been asked to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction that would stop the Iloilo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23 from implementing the writ of possession on the assets of PECO which failed to renew its franchise.
The RTC issued a writ of possession in favor of the firm owned by billionaire businessman Enrique Razon Jr., that was the one that got granted a 25-year government franchise to distribute power in Iloilo.
“Contrary to what’s being circulated via publicity by MORE, it will be highly irregular at this point to insist on the takeover pending resolution of the motion for clarification that PECO has filed with the RTC of Iloilo to define the parameters of the implementation and, more importantly, in view of the petition for certiorari with prayer for TRO (temporary restraining order) that has been filed with the Court of Appeals,” DivinaLaw said in a statement.
“MORE cannot jump the gun and pre-empt the ruling on our application for TRO.” the law firm added.
Calling it “unjust, irregular and unwise,” DivinaLaw warned the premature takeover would “plunge the city of Iloilo into darkness.”
“While this legal issue is being resolved, PECO will responsibly continue to provide service to the city,” DivinaLaw stated. “Additionally, PECO will vigorously pursue all legal remedies to set aside the order.”
DivinaLaw reminded that the Mandaluyong RTC has already ruled that MORE’s expropriation and takeover of PECO’s electric distribution assets unconstitutional.
The law firm noted MORE contested the Mandaluyong RTC’s ruling before the Supreme Court (SC) which was asked to issue a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction but got denied.
Still, MORE’s petition with the SC remains pending.
“We maintain that the order is unjust and impractical, particularly given that another court has declared the unconstitutionality of MORE’s franchise and MORE’s appeal to reverse such judgment remains pending with the SC,” DivinaLaw said about the Iloilo court’s order.