Power firm’s complaint vs Iloilo judge a bullying try
ILOILO CITY –– The administrative complaint filed against an Iloilo judge before the Supreme Court by a power firm owned by port tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. is an attempt to “bully” the judge, according to rival firm Panay Electric Company (Peco).
Marcelo Cacho, Peco’s head for public engagement and government affairs, said the complaint against Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo Amular, presiding judge of the Iloilo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 35, seeks to “intimidate, not only Amular but also other judges” who may handle cases of More Electric Power Corp. (More Power).
“(More Power) wants to tell the judiciary that they will not take ‘no’ for an answer, or else they will pressure you and file cases against you,” Cacho said in a statement.
In a 32-page administrative complaint filed before the high court on December 12, More Power President Roel Castro and legal counsel Hector Teodosio sought the dismissal of Amular for allegedly delaying the implementation of the writ of possession covering distribution assets of Peco.
They accused the judge of “grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law, and violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics.”
More Power, which was granted a 25-year franchise to distribute electricity in Iloilo City, is seeking to expropriate Peco’s distribution assets valued at P481,842,450 based on Republic Act 11212.
Under RA 11212 signed by President Duterte on February 14, More is given two years to acquire or put up its distribution facilities.
Peco’s franchise expired on Jan. 18 but the ERC has granted a provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Peco to continue distributing power in Iloilo City until More Power is capable of taking over the power distribution.
The complainants questioned Amular’s actions concerning the expropriation case pending before the court.
These include alleged delays in the implementation of the writ of possession covering Peco’s distribution assets despite an earlier order of another court branch granting the issuance of a writ of possession.
The complainants also cited Amular’s private conference with officials of the two companies and directing them to submit settlement proposals but barring the presence of their respective lawyers.
“All told, the actuations, utterances of the respondent Judge, and his issuance of the Order dated November 18, 2019, showed that he is undeserving to stay on as a judge. He should be removed,” according to the complaint.
Amular had refuted allegations that he was biased and had denied a petition of More Power to inhibit himself in the case.
“The conscience if the presiding judge is clear,” he had said.
Amular in his November 18 order suspended the proceedings on the expropriation case until the Supreme Court resolves a related case.
Amular also defended the chamber meeting with the litigants without their lawyers.
“Indeed, the Supreme Court held that it is not, however, an indispensable prerequisite although it is advisable that efforts to secure an amicable settlement be first made before condemnation proceedings be instituted,” he said in his order.
Cacho said More Power’s administrative complaint “set a deadly precedent in that companies can just file complaints against judges who do not rule in their favor.”
“They are trying to railroad the judicial process, much like what they did in Congress,” Cacho said referring to the speed of the enactment of More Power’s franchise.
He said More Power was “trying to intimidate one of our strictest and fairest judges.”
Edited by LZB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.