No quick fix on MORE Power’s expro case

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE legal battle between embattled power distributor Panay Electric Co. (Peco) and its rival MORE Electric and Power Co. (More Power) is far from over.

This, after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 37 denied the motion of More Power on June 28, 2019 to cease the hearing and decide on its application for a Writ of Possession (WOP) against Peco’s power distribution assets.

Instead, RTC Branch 37 Pairing Judge Victor E. Gelvezon scheduled the continuation of the hearing on July 2, 2019.

To recall, More Power filed an expropriation case to acquire Peco’s assets after securing its congressional franchise through Republic Act No. 11212.

The first hearing on MORE Power’s Writ of Possession was on June 13, 2019 where key issues, including Peco’s motion to suspend the entire proceedings filed, were resolved.

After denying Peco’s motion to suspend the proceeding, the court ordered a second hearing on July 2.

But when MORE Power filed its own motion asking the court to stop the hearing and decide on the case early this week, Judge Gelvezon set Thursday’s hearing to discuss the matter.

Peco’s lead counsel Estrella Elamparo said in an interview that MORE Power wants to hasten the court’s decision on the Writ of Possession by doing away with the hearing and submission of evidences.

Yung motion na finile ng MORE Power na gusto niya na ang Application of Writ of Possession dapat submitted for decision na. Kasi kung maalala natin nung nakaraan sinabi ni Judge na ihi-hear pa yung application nila on July 2. Ngayon nagmamadali si MORE, gusto niya na wag nang mag-hearing sa July 2. Gusto niya desisyonan na lang ng basta yung kanilang application for WOP,” she said in an interview.

Elamparo questioned MORE Power’s move, saying that that the power firm has no testimonial and documentary evidence to support its application.

“Ang sinasabi nila, hindi na nila kailangang gawin yan. Gusto nila wala na sila dokumentong isa-submit at ipapamarkahan. And ang gusto nila, desisyunan na kaagad. Sigurado ba ang plaintiff na isa-submit nila ang kanilang application for hearing na walang testimonial evidence and no single documentary evidence,” she said.

Among the documents required by the court for MORE Power to submit was the updated assessed total value of Peco’s distribution assets from the City Treasurer, according to Elamparo.

While Elamparo said that they should be at the advantage since More Power’s application will be denied for lack of evidence, she admitted that she was a bit taken aback by the “confidence” of More Power.

Medyo nagugulat kasi napaka-confident niya sa kanyang application na ni isang katiting ng ebidensya ay hindi kailangan kaya yun ang ating pangamba. Pero nagtitiwala naman tayo sa judicial process at patuloy na nagtitiwala sa ating judicial system na magkakaroon ng tamang resolution ang issue,” she said.

Elamparo assured that whatever happens, they have prepared their own remedies.