Voting 8-6, the SC affirmed the validity of MORE’s takeover of the operations and assets of Panay Electric Co. Inc. (PECO) in Iloilo as it reversed the decision of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court.
The Mandaluyong court’s ruling declared unconstitutional MORE’s authority to operate Iloilo’s power distribution system. The decision was in response to a petition lodged by PECO, whose franchise expired in 2019 after serving Iloilo consumers for nine decades.
PECO lawyer Estrella Elamparo said the company was dismayed by the high court’s ruling and vowed to continue its fight.
“Although this is a massive hurdle, we will not give up in our fight and we will continue to pursue the available legal remedies to defend PECO’s constitutional rights,” she said.
“Despite this temporary setback, we remain optimistic that we will ultimately be vindicated not just for PECO but for the people of Iloilo,” Elamparo added.
PECO’s application for a new 25-year franchise had been shot down by Congress due to mounting complaints from dissatisfied consumers, erroneous billing, poor customer service and high rates.