Razon power firm loses bid at SC vs lower court ruling declaring franchise terms unconstitutional
ILOILO CITY—The Supreme Court has junked the bid of a power distribution firm owned by ports magnate Enrique Razon Jr. to stop the implementation of a Mandaluyong court decision declaring as unconstitutional some provisions of the power firm’s franchise.
In a resolution dated Aug. 14, the high court’s Second Division denied the petition of More Power Electric Corp. (More Power) for a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction against the July 1 ruling of the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 209.
The Mandaluyong RTC ruling declared provisions of Republic Act 11212, the law which granted More Power a 25-year franchise to distribute electricity in the city and parts of Panay, as void and unconstitutional.
It also made permanent an injunction against More Power’s bid to expropriate the distribution assets of rival firm Panay Electric Company (Peco).
The high court, however, directed Peco to file a comment on More’s petition for review on certiorari within 10 days from receipt of the resolution, according to a notice issued by the division clerk of court on September 18.
The Mandaluyong RTC had ruled that Section 10 (right of eminent domain) and Section 17 (transition of operations) of RA 11212 were void and unconstitutional for infringing on Peco’s rights to due process and equal protection of the law.
RA 11212, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 14, required More Power put up or acquire distribution assets within two years after the franchise was issued.
The Iloilo RTC, which is hearing an expropriation complaint filed by More Power against Peco, has issued a writ of possession covering Peco’s distribution assets valued at P481,842,450.
In a separate resolution dated September 2, the high court directed Judge Yvette Marie Go, presiding judge of the Iloilo RTC Branch 37 who granted the the writ of possession, and More Power to submit a comment on an urgent motion of Peco for the issuance of a show cause order.
Peco had filed the motion citing the pursuance of the expropriation case at the Iloilo RTC despite the pending petition for review before the high court and the decision issued by the Mandaluyong RTC./tsb
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