CA says ERC can hear case vs Meralco, Aboitiz subsidiaries

Rappler.com
The Court of Appeals junks the petition filed by Meralco and two Aboitiz subsidiaries seeking to dismiss a complaint filed by the Energy Regulatory Commission's investigating unit

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) ruled that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has the right to hear the case of anti-competitive behavior and unfair trade against the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and Aboitiz Power Corporation’s subsidiaries. 

The CA, in a 25-page ruling, junked the petition filed by Meralco and two Aboitiz subsidiaries, Therma Mobile Inc and AP Renewables Inc, seeking to dismiss the complaint filed against them by the ERC investigating unit. 

The petitioners cited the ERC’s supposed lack of jurisdiction.

The complaint against them was linked to the shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility near Palawan, which in 2013 affected the Philippines’ power supply

In its decision, the CA acknowledged that Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) repealed Section 45 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which authorized the ERC to monitor and penalize anti-competitive behavior in the energy industry. 

The CA, however, noted that complaints against Meralco and the Aboitiz subsidiaries were filed with the ERC in June 2015, while the PCA became law in July 2015.

“Since the complaints against the petitioners were validly filed prior to the enactment of the PCA, the PCC has no jurisdiction over the petitioners’ cases. The jurisdiction to try their cases remains with the ERC, the body conferred with jurisdiction by EPIRA, the law then in force when the complaints against them were filed,” the CA said. – Rappler.com