Razon's MORE starts 'takeover' of Panay Electric facilities

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2020 03:11 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2020 04:05 PM

MANILA -- Billionaire Enrique Razon's MORE said it started Friday its "takeover" of Panay Electric, after it secured another win in an Iloilo City court.

MORE Electric is "in the process of taking over" land, machinery and power plants of PECO, which failed to renew its 25-year franchise. It was the Razon firm that secured a license to supply power in the area.

"We took over the land. We took over the buildings, except the business office. We have taken over the engineering portions of the distribution of Panay Electric," said MORE legal counsel Hector Teodosio.

Referring to PECO workers, Teodosio said: "These employees will stay in so far as the engineering section is concerned. Rank and file shall be taken in. They shall not be removed."

"Everything is running smoothly here," he said.

An Iloilo City court on Friday released an addendum to a Writ of Possession, to "install MORE who may deploy their personnel to man and oversee substations."

The court said MORE would "exercise their possession and control of the distribution facilities, but the operation should still be handled by PECO personnel" who have the technical expertise.

A takeover at this time will be "highly irregular" with a case still pending in the Supreme Court, said PECO lawyer Star Elamparo.

PECO also sought a temporary restraining order against the Iloilo City court before the Court of Appeals. The CA has at least 10 days to act on the matter, she said. 

“They would be preempting the application that has been duly filed in the Court of Appeals and they are not giving the CA the opportunity to act on our application,” Elamparo said. 

PECO said MORE shut off internet connection its facilities and prevented its personnel from controlling the switchboard, affecting customer service.

PECO will “continue to fight” until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter, Elamparo said.

ABS-CBN Corp's sister company, First Philippine Holdings, is a minority stakeholder in PECO.