PECO decries ‘intimidation’ in MORE’s takeover of substations
MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo City power distributor Panay Electric Company (PECO) on Tuesday decried the alleged intimidation by the camp of MORE Power and Electric Corporation (MORE) during the latter’s takeover of its five substations last week.
PECO’s legal counsel Estrella Elamparo said in a press briefing that a band of court sheriffs, security guards, policemen, and MORE lawyers and employees rushed to the headquarters of PECO in General Luna on Thursday afternoon and “forcibly served” the writ of possession to takeover the facility.
“It was such a grand production. It was such a huge crowd. It was such a coordinated production,” she said.
Elamparo suspects that members of the camp knew that a writ of possession would be issued by the court days before the actual takeover, saying that the schedules of all those who went to the headquarters could not have been immediately coordinated within minutes.
“They were after complete takeover. They banged on gates, forced their way in, intimidated the guards of PECO. It was really Gestapo style,” she added.
PECO has four other substations aside from the headquarters in General Luna: those located in Jaro, La Paz, Jalandoni, and Molo. All of these have been taken over by MORE, according to the lawyer.
She said that in the substation in Jaro, the MORE camp even deceived the head security guard that all other substations have been taken over, prompting him to be forced to allow everyone in.
“They posted the notices, posters, and banners of MORE all over. They were armed. The police were there,” added Elamparo.
But MORE legal counsel Hector Teodosio on Friday described that “everything is running smoothly” during the takeover.
He added that PECO employees will stay in so far as the engineering section is concerned. Rank and file workers were also taken in.
PECO, a long-time Iloilo City power distributor, failed to renew its 25-year franchise last year. It was MORE, a firm owned by billionaire Enrique Razon, that secured a license to supply power in the area.
But according to Elamparo, MORE is both “legally impossible” and “not equipped” to operate the power facilities.
“MORE is not even a power company so it did not have a single asset to speak of. It did not have its own distribution facility and obviously it did not wish to build its own distribution system,” she explained.
She also expressed concern that this would pose adverse effects to power consumers in the area, considering the supposed lack of expertise of MORE to handle the facilities.
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