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PECO says expropriation hearings ‘premature’ without ruling on MORE Power’s franchise

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ILOILO CITY’S power distributor, Panay Electric Company, Inc. (PECO), said it would be “premature” for the Iloilo Regional Trial Court (RTC) to proceed with the hearings on the expropriation of its assets by its competitor, MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), without a ruling on another case filed before the Mandaluyong RTC. “At this point though, it is premature to set the WOP (writ of possession) application as the Court has not acted upon PECO’s motion to suspend the expropriation proceedings given the pending case with the RTC of Mandaluyong assailing the constitutionality of MORE’s franchise,” PECO said in a statement issued by its legal counsel, the Divina Law firm. The statement was issued after the Iloilo RTC denied last Monday PECO’s motion to suspend the expropriation proceedings. PECO also said that “there is no urgency to set the expropriation proceedings” as the company was given a provisional authority to continue operating by the Energy Regulatory Commission last week. In the case before the Mandaluyong RTC, PECO is questioning the constitutionality of the Congressional franchise granted to MORE Power. PECO’s franchise expired last January and its renewal application was not approved by Congress. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo