SC sides with MORE on Iloilo row

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    The Supreme Court has sided with a company owned by port mogul Enrique Razon in the legal battle involving power distribution in Iloilo City.

    SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the justices voted 8-6 at a regular en banc session Tuesday in favor of Razon’s MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE).

    The ruling, according to Hosaka, “reversed the judgment” of Branch 209 of the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court that declared Sections 10 and 17 of Republic Act 11212 unconstitutional.

    That law granted MORE a 25-year power distribution franchise in Iloilo City.
    Iloilo City has more than 55, 000 electric consumers including residences and offices.

    The SC has not yet released a copy of the ruling.

    The case stemmed from a petition filed by Panay Electric Corporation (Peco) before the Mandaluyong City RTC last year seeking to stop Razon’s firm from taking over its franchise and operating in Iloilo City.

    Peco also asked the RTC to declare as unconstitutional sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212 granting franchise to MORE and allowed the latter to take over its power distribution assets in Iloilo City.

    Peco is the power distributor in the city for 95 years.

    Its franchise expired only on January 2019.

    The Mandaluyong RTC in July last year granted Peco’s petition as it invalidated MORE’s takeover of its distribution assets.

    But MORE appealed and secured a temporary injuction from the SC last December, stopping it from implementing its decision against MORE.

    The injunction paved the way for MORE to takeover Peco’s distribution assets.

    The Energy Regulatory Commission in March this year also revoked Peco’s certificate of public convenience as it said MORE has acquired and established its own power distribution system.