first_imgPECO’s franchiseas sole power distributor in Iloilo City expired on Jan. 19 this year. Itfailed to secure an extension from Congress over several issues such as poorcustomer relations, erroneous billings, power failures, high rates, etc. Among others,Amular noted the Supreme Court’s pronouncement that the issue of the franchiselaw’s constitutionality would be like a prejudicial question to theexpropriation case as it would be a waste of time and effort to appointevaluation commissioners and debate the market value of the property sought tobe condemned if it turns out that the condemnation was illegal. Mayor Jerry Treñas. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN MORE Power scored a big legal win lastweek. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court En Banc stopped theimplementation of the ruling of the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong Citydeclaring two sections of MORE Power’s franchise law void and unconstitutional. However, it remains unclear when willthe Regional Trial Court Branch 35 here resume the proceedings of theexpropriation case against PECO. Inordering the suspension, PresidingJudge Daniel Antionio Gerardo Amular cited supervening events. On the other hand, MORE Power filed anexpropriation case to take over PECO’s power distribution system. The RegionalTrial Court Branch 35, however, suspended the proceedings last month. The mayor warned of dire consequencesif the uncertainty on the power distribution here lingers indefinitely. According to the Supreme Court,the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued should remain in effect untilfurther orders from it. “Indipwede nga indi sila ka-decision (Courts cannot not make decisions). Ang bilog nga syudad apektado dasun ga-inagipa ang iban nga korte (The whole city is affected while some courts aretaking their time). Indi pwede ‘na (Thisis not acceptable). Are they telling us to take the law in our hands?” saidTreñas. ILOILO City – Already “exasperatedwith some courts”, Mayor Jerry Treñas appealed for speedy resolution to thedragging legal battle between Panay Electric Co. (PECO) and MORE Electric andPower Corp. (MORE Power). “Indi pwede angkorte mag inagi (courts can’t be sissies). They will have to decide one wayor the other,” he said. MORE Power secured a 25-year powerdistribution franchise here in February. But PECO questioned the franchise’sconstitutionality. The case is now with the Supreme Court. “The question ofconstitutionality is of paramount importance in the interest of legal andprocedural fairness in view of the novelty of the case,” said Amular. “Indeed, theruling of the Honorable SC will guide this Court whether the authorityconferred upon the plaintiff as a quasi-public corporation by Congress has beencorrectly or properly exercised by it,” he added. MORE Powerpresident Roel Castro said the latest Supreme Court ruling was “a manifestationof the rule of law.” “Konang korte mag inagi kag magpalagyo (Ifcourts become feeble and cowardly) then you are opening the whole situation forpeople to take the law into their hands,” said Treñas, a lawyer. Treñas said it is the responsibilityof courts to resolve legal issues to maintain order in society. “With the issuance of the TRO, MOREPower is confident that the lower court will take its cue and decisively ruleon the Application for the Issuance of the Writ of Possession. With all duerespect, the law and rules are clear: Upon compliance with the requirements, apetitioner in an expropriation case is entitled to a writ of possession as amatter of right and it becomes the ministerial duty of the trial court toforthwith issue the writ of possession,” Castro said./PNlast_img

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