Iloilo City’s distribution utility Panay Electric Co. could be liable for violating the gag order of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City regarding its case versus More Electric Power Corp.
Judge Emerald Requina-Contreras of Iloilo City Branch 23 RTC had issued an order dated March 2 calling for both PECO and MORE to strictly implement the gag order issued by Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo Amular, who previously handled the case.
“We are having this forum to be able to ventilate our side, our version of what happened,” PECO lawyer Estrella Elamparo said during a media event in Intramuros on Tuesday.
MORE took over some of the assets of PECO last week after the Iloilo City RTC issued the writ of possession in favor of the Razon-led firm.
Requina-Contreras said Elamparo made “malicious comments” on air of an alleged meeting between the RTC Judge and a MORE official.
“Immune to this misbehavior of counsels whenever the (court) judgment is adverse to their client, undersigned is not to be dissuaded to further hear the case with utmost impartiality,” the Iloilo City judge said.
Requina-Contreras, however, said Elamparo’s behavior “will be dealt with by the court accordingly.”
“The counsels are cautioned not to resort to any form of propaganda that undermines the integrity and credibility of the court and to strictly observe the gag order earlier issued by Judge Amular,” the judge said.
She directed the parties to submit proposals on the timeline for the transition period, accounting, turnover of records like list of consumers, documents relevant to the distribution system, inventory of personal properties, and inventory of real property assets under possession of MORE.
MORE started taking over PECO’s electricity distribution facilities as the new distribution utility of Iloilo City after securing a 15-year franchise from Congress in 2019.
PECO’s franchise expired on January 19, 2019 after failing to secure an extension from Congress amid numerous complaints from customers.
Under Republic Act No. 11212 signed on Febuary 14, 2019 signed by President Rodrigo Dutetre, MORE can takeover the distribution assets of PECO.
To date, MORE has taken over the Baldoza-La Paz substation (land including all machineries and improvements, buildings); General Luna substation (Meter Lab, Power Plant Building and Switchboard House);Tabuc Suba, Jaro substation (land, machinery); Bolilao, Mandurriao substation (land, buildings, and machinery) and Molo substation (land, and buildings, machinery) on Avanceña Street. Alena Mae Flores