Section 17 of Republic Act 11212, MOREPower’s franchise, explicitly states that “Panay Electric Co. shall in theinterim be authorized to operate the existing distribution system.” “I was so shocked when I was informedby the sheriff that apparently MORE Power had changed its mind,” stressedElamparo, recounting following up the information on the writ. “The response ofthe sheriff was ‘yun po ang sabi ngMORE Power eh, wala na kami magawa.’” In its Motion, PECO pointed out that ERCcommitted a “reversible error” when it granted MORE Power a ProvisionalAuthority. PECO’s Urgent Motion forReconsideration at ERC insisted it was “inaccurate” and “misleading” for MORE Powerto claim it had taken full control of the operation of the distributionfacilities based on what had transpired. According to Elamparo, such authoritycould only be granted if MORE Power had its own distribution system and thefull transition of operations from PECO had been completed. “What verified and authenticateddocuments were submitted? None. Zero. They only submitted a Manifestation withUrgent Motion for Early Resolution,” according to Elamparo, which contained “falsehoods”and mere “say-so”. “They can’t submit anything other thantheir misinterpretations,” she lamented. PECO further asserted that theissuance of MORE Power’s Provisional Authority was based on “seriousmisrepresentations and misapprehension of facts.” On March 5, ERC in a three-pageresolution granted MORE Power a Provisional Authority to operate. MORE Power’s application was notsupported by verified and authenticated documents or affidavits as required bySection 8 of Executive Order No.172 creating the Energy Regulatory Board, PECOstressed. “This is an illegal corporatetakeover,” said PECO head of Public Engagement and Government Affairs MarceloCacho in a press briefing on March 9. “They have taken over our facilities,they are trying to get our own employees, and they are trying to usurp ourcontracts as well as our distribution rates.” MORE Power has not yet fullytransitioned towards full operations and cannot prove its financial andtechnical capabilities, according to Cacho. “PECO is the only entity in Iloilothat is registered with WESM and to this day, it is the one that gets billed bysaid entity for power purchases through it, as evidenced by the WESM bill sentto PECO,” the long-time power distributor pointed out. ILOILO City – Panay Electric Co. (PECO)has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to reverse the latter’s orderrevoking the power distributor’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity(CPCN). PECO accused rival MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) of makingfalse claims that led to ERC’s decision to transfer power distribution rights. Furthermore, during a March 2 hearingat the Iloilo RTC, Branch 23, according to Elamparo, it was raised that basedon the Sheriff’s Return on the Writ of Possession, the sheriff mentioned thatboth MORE Power and PECO agreed that “the status quo of the electric operationwill be maintained.” Under such principle, contracts canonly bind the parties who entered into it and cannot favor or prejudice a thirdperson. “The fight is far from over. Wecaution MORE Power from prematurely celebrating and informing everybody thatthey are in control,” said Elamparo./PN “Had the Honorable Commission foundthat MORE Power is technically and financially capable of operating thedistribution system, then why would it authorize MORE Power to source its powerrequirements from the current power generation suppliers of PECO,” PECO pointedout. “If MORE Power truly wanted to fulfillits mandate of providing a public service, then it would focus less on takingand instead do more building,” read the PECO motion. “Even the taking, however,is being done illegally.” A 25-page Urgent Motion forReconsideration was filed yesterday by Atty. Estrella Elamparo, PECO legalcounsel, praying for the reinstatement of PECO’s CPCN and the revocation ofMORE Power’s Provisional Authority until the situation on the ground had beenthoroughly examined. It further stated the revocation of itsCPCN was also an error as MORE Power had yet to prove its financial andtechnical capabilities to operate. MORE Power proceeded with the“violent” takeover, said Elamparo, but Judge Emerald Requiña-Contreras ofIloilo RTC, Branch 23 reiterated that her Addendum clearly stated that “theoperation should still be handled by PECO personnel who have the technicalexpertise” and that MORE Power was only meant to observe during the transition”and subsequently ordered MORE Power to return operations to PECO. Also, it is currently only PECO thatpurchases power for distribution on a daily basis through its current powersupply contracts from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). Despite the pending Supreme Court caseregarding the constitutionality of MORE Power’s franchise, the Iloilo Regional TrialCourt, Branch 23 issued a Writ of Possession, to which PECO filed a Motion forClarification and a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals in Cebu. PECO further emphasized that authorizingMORE Power to source power requirements from PECO’s current power generationsuppliers violates the principle of relativity of contracts as stated inArticle 1311 of the Civil Code. What’s happening on the ground,however, was far different, she stressed. PECO lawyer Estrella Elamparo. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN He also pointed out that there wereonly 40 formerly contractual PECO employees who transferred to MORE Power’semploy and only one supervisor.