PECO warns MORE against expropriating power assets

By Alena Mae S. Flores -October 27, 2019 at 08:45 pm

Panay Electric Co. warned More Electric Power Corp. against expropriating the former’s assets, saying the case is now with the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeals on Oct. 3 denied the bid of PECO to stop the expropriation of its distribution assets in Iloilo City by MORE—the new franchise holder and distributor in the city.

PECO, in a statement, clarified that the denial of the 18th division of the Court of Appeals (CA) of Cebu City on Oct. 3 of its petition to suspend or stop the expropriation case filed by was moot and academic.

“The Court of Appeals case is already moot and has been overtaken by events because the matter is now with the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land. The SC has already ruled in favor of PECO in denying MORE’s prayer for temporary restraining order sought by MORE,” PECO legal counsel Estrella Elamparo said.

The 18th Division, in a resolution penned by CA Associate Justice Alfredo Ampuan, ruled to deny PECO’s petition for a temporary restraining order against the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court, and another petition for a writ of preliminary injunction against the same court, after the lower court ordered the expropriation of PECO’s distribution assets by MORE.

“The SC has, in fact, required MORE to show cause why it should not be declared in contempt for continuing with the expropriation. A CA ruling cannot supplant a Supreme Court ruling and if MORE attempts to proceed with the expropriation, it will be answerable to the SC,” Emparo said.

PECO filed a motion to withdraw the petition on Sept, 24 to the CA as the case was already with the Supreme Court at the time.

PECO said the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court rendered another judgment in the petition for declaratory relief on July 11, 2019 declaring Sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212 void and unconstitutional “for infringing on PECO’s rights to due process and equal protection of the law.”

The Mandaluyong RTC enjoined MORE and any of its representatives from enforcing, implementing and exercising any of the rights and obligations set forth under RA 11212, including but not limited to commencing or pursuing the expropriation proceedings against PECO under the assailed provisions, and from takeover by MORE of PECO’s distribution assets in the franchise area.

“Consequently, PECO has no obligation to sell and MORE has no right to expropriate PECO’s assets under Sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212; and, PECO’s rights to its properties are protected against arbitrary and confiscatory taking under the relevant portions of Sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212,” the Mandaluyong RTC said.

MORE questioned the judgment on July 1, 2019 with the SC through a petition for review on certiorari coupled with a prayer for TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction.
The SC in a resolution dated Aug. 14, 2019, denied MORE’s prayer for a TRO on the Mandaluyong RTC resolution upholding the permanent discontinuation of the expropriation case.

PECO, in its motion to withdraw dated Sept. 24 said that “out of deference to the Highest Court of the land, in order to promote judicial stability and courtesy, and to avoid pre-empting any ruling by the Supreme Court, PECO is constrained to respectfully withdraw the instant petition.”