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Makabayan bloc hopes SC will eventually junk power rate hike

/ 04:49 PM April 22, 2014

AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives lauded the Supreme Court for indefinitely extending the temporary restraining order (TRO) on Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) power rate increase.

But the militant group said it hoped the high court would eventually rule against the planned power rate adjustment.

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“This is indeed a welcome development so that electricity consumers would not have to bear the unjust power rate hike of Meralco,” Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, one of the petitioners against the hike, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We just hope that the SC will eventually declare the P4.15 rate hike void as well as the subsequent proposed increases connected to the market manipulation and collusion of power industry players,” he added.

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The senior deputy minority leader also hoped the court would strike down the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) as unconstitutional. The lawmaker said the 13-year -old law failed its purpose of bringing down the prices of electricity.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio added that the TRO “will ensure that millions of consumers will not be burdened by onerous charges while the Court continues to deliberate on the case.”

Tinio also said he hoped the high court would hold liable for grave abuse of discretion the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which earlier approved Meralco’s hike before eventually declaring it as void and asking for a recalculation due to market failure.

“We hope it will side with the people in declaring grave abuse of discretion on the part of ERC in failing to prevent the unprecedented price hike and, more importantly, declare the privatization of power generation as unconstitutional,” Tinio added.

Meralco was accused of colluding with power players to jack up prices amid a power shortfall. The proposed hike has been repeatedly stalled by the Supreme Court due to public outcry.

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TAGS: House of Representatives, Makabayan bloc, Manila Electric Company, Power Rate Hike
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