SC issues TRO vs Mandaluyong RTC, PECO
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC) from enforcing its ruling which declared the franchise granted by Congress to MORE Electric and Power Corp. and the expropriation of the assets of Panay Electric Co. (PECO) as unconstitutional.

In a decision dated Dec. 3, the SC en banc issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Mandaluyong RTC and PECO, while the high court is still hearing a petition filed by MORE to declare the lower court’s July 1 judgment as illegal.

The SC said the TRO was “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this court.”

In a statement, MORE president Roel Castro welcomed the SC’s issuance of the TRO against the Mandaluyong RTC, which PECO had sought to stop the new Iloilo City distribution utility from acquiring its distribution assets.

Castro said the SC’s unanimous decision to restrain the Mandaluyong RTC showed that the High Court found that “MORE Power has a clear and unmistakable right to be protected, there is material and substantial invasion of such right, there is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to MORE Power, and no other ordinary, speedy, and adequate remedy exists to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury other than the issuance of said TRO.”

Last July 1, the Mandaluyong RTC had declared as unconstitutional Sections 10 and 17 of Republic Act (RA) 11212.

The law granted MORE the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain “and acquire such private property as is actually necessary for the realization of the purpose for which the franchise is granted” (Sec. 10) and to effectively acquire power distribution assets (Sec. 17).

PECO has been operating as the power distributor of Iloilo City for 95 years until Jan. 19 this year, when its franchise expired and was not renewed by Congress. Instead, Congress granted MORE the franchise.

To ensure a smooth transition to MORE’s takeover of the distribution system, PECO was allowed by the Department of Energy and Energy Regulatory Commission to continue operating through its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) until the new power player completes its transition to full operations.

A CPCN requires a power utility to ensure public safety and efficient supply service to the public.

MORE had secured a go signal from the Iloilo RTC to expropriate PECO’s assets, but the 95-year old utility firm had asked a Mandaluyong RTC to stop the expropriation.

With the SC en banc’s issuance of the TRO, “MORE Power is confident that the lower court will take its cue and decisively rule on the application for the issuance of the writ of possession (of PECO’s distribution assets),” Castro said.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with