Iloilo RTC instructs PECO to transfer assets to MORE

The Iloilo Regional Trial Court (RTC) has instructed the court’s sheriff to transfer the possession of assets from the Panay Electric Co. (PECO) to rival firm More Electric Power Corp. (MORE).

According to an Inquirer report, Judge Emerald Requina-Contreras of the RTC Branch 23 reiterated the grant of writ of possession to MORE.

“The primary goal of the court is a smooth and peaceful transition of operation, to protect the public interest of the people of Iloilo City and its businesses, and to ensure the uninterrupted supply of electricity,” it was stated in the court order.

MORE Legal Counsel Hector Teodosio expressed in the report that the firm will abide by the court order but did not provide further details. 

In a statement issued on behalf of PECO, the Divina Law Office expressed that allowing MORE to take over PECO’s assets is “unjust,” saying PECO will “continue to fight for its rights” and will “exhaust all possible legal remedies to pursue justice.”

The law firm cited a ruling of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court that declared as unconstitutional provisions of the law, Republic Act No. 11212, that gave MORE a franchise to take over the distribution of electricity in Iloilo for 25 years. The Mandaluyong court decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court where it remained pending.

Divina Law expressed it is in this context of allowing MORE to “precipitately take over on the basis of a highly questionable expropriation is unjust. “

“It will also cause irreparable injury and massive damage to the City of Iloilo and its stakeholders given that the parameters for the implementation of the writ are yet to be clarified by the court,” the law office stated.

Included in the possession of assets are the parcels of land, substations, machinery, and buildings with an assessed value of more that P217 M.

For now, excluded from the writ are, among others, parcels of stockyards, service vehicles not used for maintenance, guest and staff houses, office buildings, pieces of furniture and fixtures, and computer equipment.

Contreras expressed in her order that it was too early for the court to order the immediate expropriation of all pieces of PECO property listed by MORE in its petition for the writ; thus, the final inclusion or exclusion of other assets are yet to be determined.