PECO gets 20-day TRO against Razon’s More Power

The Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping new franchise holder More Power and Electric Co. from taking over the power distribution sector in the island of Panay.

In a recent 5-page order, the court’s Branch 209 granted the plea of longtime franchise holder Panay Electric Co. Inc. (PECO) to stop the implementation of the Razon-controlled More’s franchise under Republic Act Number 11212.

The court barred More from expropriating and taking over PECO’s power distribution assets. It also prohibited the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from issuing the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), provisional authority or any other permits in favor of More.

The court noted that if More’s application for a CPCN, due to be heard on March 27, was granted, it would lead to two companies operating in the same area during a two-year transition period.

“All told, the foregoing facts clearly show that there is no other ordinary, speedy and adequate remedy to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury to Peco except through the issuance of a TRO,” the court said.

The court scheduled a hearing on April 2 to determine if a writ of preliminary injunction (WPI)—a stay order that could last until the case is resolved—should be issued in PECO’s favor.

PECO claimed its right to due process was violated by the More francise. Although PECO’s franchise expired last January, it claimed that handing the rights to the inexperienced More was “arbitrary and confiscatory.”

It said handing over the franchise to More, including corresponding rights to eminent domain, was tantamount to the government taking its assets in favor of another private entity.

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