By: Alex P. Vidal
“There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.” – Ambrose Bierce
AFTER losing its franchise in January 2019, Panay Electric Company (PECO) refused to die like Grigori Rasputin, who was supposed to die immediately after being made to eat a cyanide-laced cake prepared by Prince Yussupov.
The cyanide had no apparent effect.
Like Rasputin, the mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II in Russia, PECO “lived on” even after its certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) also expired four months later in May 2019.
PECO “survived” and continued to operate by virtue of a transition after Congress passed Republic Act No. 11212 that gave rival firm MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) the franchise to distribute power in Iloilo City.
The nephew of the Tsar and his cohorts couldn’t kill Rasputin with one strike.
PECO had also survived after challenging RA 11212’s validity and securing a favorable ruling from the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong City declaring portions of the law as illegal and unconstitutional.
Rasputin was only killed after being shot and beaten and then drowned in a frozen river.
Like Rasputin, PECO, gasping for breath, fought for its dear life through Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, who filed HB 4101 on Aug 22, 2019 in a bid to grant PECO a fresh franchise.
Did PECO finally die on September 11, 2019 after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises unanimously struck down Paduano’s bill seeking to grant PECO the franchise to distribute electricity for Ilonggo consumers?
It was my fifth consecutive year last Wednesday, September 11, 2019, to join the Americans as they commemorated the horrible 9/11 World Trade Center twin towers attack that killed nearly 5,000 non-combatant individuals.
As observed by Time’s Ian Bremmer, every 9/11 anniversary that passes gets both easier and harder.
Easier, because time numbs pain, even the most searing and awful kinds of pain. Harder, because with time comes perspective, and 18 years later, the shock and enormity of those despicable acts continue to stand as one of the most atrocious deeds humans have ever perpetrated against one another.
“The passing of time also makes it harder because we can see more clearly the disastrous chain the events of that day kicked off, how they led to war in Afghanistan and then to war in Iraq, both wars that the U.S. is currently still waging. It’s hard to say that the world is a safer place to live as a result of those wars. What we can say is that these wars have cost the U.S. plenty; trillions of dollars have been spent, thousands of lives have been lost, and U.S. global leadership has been forever tarnished, both in the eyes of those living in the U.S. and in the eyes of those living outside it,” observed Bremmer.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)