Peco disputes legal victory claim of Iloilo rival MORE
The Panay Electric Co. (Peco) on Wednesday asked its new rival —tycoon Enrique Razon Jr.’s More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE)—to await an upcoming decision of the Supreme Court on the future of the electricity distribution business in Iloilo City which the two camps were fighting over.
In particular, Peco said MORE’s claim of a win at the Court of Appeals had been rendered “moot” by the high tribunal’s recent resolution, which denied the petition of Razon’s camp for an injunction against a lower court decision this time in favor of Peco.
Peco, owned by the Cacho family that had a monopoly on the distribution of electricity in Iloilo for almost a century now, said its Court of Appeals petition which MORE claimed to have won “has actually been withdrawn through a motion” filed over a month ago.
“It is possible that the Court of Appeals had not yet received the motion filed by Peco when it issued the moot October 3 resolution” that favored Razon’s firm, PECO said, adding that it had withdrawn the petition because of a favorable ruling obtained from a lower court that said the expropriation of its assets by MORE was unconstitutional.
On Oct. 3, the Court of Appeals struck down a petition by Peco to stop the expropriation of its assets that were part of a P1.7-billion investment plan by the new franchisee to improve and ensure continuous and reliable electricity supply in Iloilo.
Peco and MORE have been engaged in a high profile tug of war for the lucrative Iloilo City power distribution business for over a year now.
MORE has accused the Cacho family of neglecting to invest in and modernize Peco, resulting in frequent complaints from the city’s electricity consumers.
MORE had also pointed out that Peco did not have a congressional franchise all these years and was, instead, operating using a provisional license from the National Electrification Administration.
MORE, meanwhile, managed to obtain a franchise from Congress last year, which included the power to wrest distribution facilities from Peco in the event of non-cooperation by the latter — a provision which the Cacho family was challenging in court.
In its statement, Peco dismissed MORE’s supposed legal victory, saying that “since the highest court of the land has spoken (in denying MORE the injunction it requested), the Court of Appeals may no longer rule on the issue,” and adding that “the Court of Appeals clearly cannot overrule a Supreme Court ruling.”
“Our appeal to MORE is to respect the Supreme Court and await the final resolution on its petition,” Peco said.
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