‘BIZ PERMIT IS NOT A FRANCHISE’
In a recent unanimous decision, theSupreme Court En Banc stopped the implementation of the ruling of the RegionalTrial Court (RTC) in Mandaluyong City declaring two sections of MORE Power’sfranchise law void. As to the city government’s finallycollecting PECO’s long overdue realty taxes, Castro said, “It is a welcomedevelopment. We are happy. The city government now has a budget for thedelivery of services to the Ilonggos.” “With the issuance of the TRO by theSupreme Court against the Mandaluyong RTC, MORE Power is confident that the RTCin Iloilo City will take its cue and decisively rule on the Application for theIssuance of the Writ of Possession. With all due respect, the law and rules areclear: Upon compliance with the requirements, a petitioner in an expropriationcase is entitled to a writ of possession as a matter of right and it becomesthe ministerial duty of the trial court to forthwith issue the writ ofpossession,” Castro said./PN PECO failed to secure a franchise fromCongress over several issues such as poor customer relations, erroneousbillings, power failures, and high rates, etc. “Anybody who owes somebody should bepaying. Like I said two weeks ago, kun indi magbayad si PECO we are willing toparticipate in the auction,” said Castro. ILOILO City – A business permit is nota franchise and so is a provisional Certificate of Public Convenience andNecessity (CPCN), thus Panay Electric Co.’s (PECO) operation in this city istemporary at best, according to MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power)president Roel Castro. “Even if it had paid its tax dues andwould eventually be issued a business permit, the fact remains that PECO isoperating merely on the basis of a temporary CPCN. Its life is only within thetransition period,” said Castro. Under this franchise law, there is atwo-year transition period to MORE Power so as not to disrupt the powerdistribution, thus the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) issued PECO a CPCN. Congress instead granted MORE Power a25-year franchise to distribute electricity in the city. President RodrigoDuterte signed this legislative franchise law, Republic Act (RA) 11212, on Feb.14 this year. An electrical fire flares up at a post of Panay Electric Co. near the Mandurriao public market on Friday night. Just recently, the Energy Regulatory Commission ordered PECO to correct and explain its violations of the Power Distribution Code. “The basic rule is that every law hasin its favor the presumption of constitutionality. To justify the nullificationof sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212 there must be a clear and unequivocal breachof the Constitution and not one that is doubtful, speculative orargumentative,” Castro stressed. The latest high court ruling, saidCastro, was “a manifestation of the rule of law.” The MORE Power president said his companyis “on track” to take over the power distribution system in the city. PECO questioned the franchise law atthe Mandaluyong RTC in July. It argued that sections 10 (right of eminentdomain) and 17 (transition of operations) of the franchise law wereunconstitutional. MORE Power has filed an expropriationcase against PECO at the RTC in Iloilo City but the latter was fighting it. The city government is poised to issuea business permit to PECO – whose power distribution franchise expired inJanuary this year – after the latter paid its P134.9-million real property taxdues on Dec.9 or three days before the Dec. 12 auction of P90-million worth ofits properties by the city government.