By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
WE CAN understand if Basilan Congressman Mujiv Hataman is very much concerned with the lot of Badjaos who migrate to Iloilo City to beg.
What we cannot understand is why he cannot do something to help his constituency out of poverty so that they will not beg for alms elsewhere.
Here are the facts for Hataman’s consumption:
The Iloilo City government, through the Public Safety Management and Transportation Office, spends money, manpower, and resources in rescuing the Badjaos who are victims of abuses and exposed to various dangers.
There is evidence like remittance or money transfer receipts that our hapless indigenous people from Mindanao are being used by syndicates that deploy them to beg on the streets.
If only Hataman, who is part of a big political dynasty in Mindanao, can only do something about these syndicates, he will not waste precious energy in howling at the perceived or imaginary maltreatment of the Badjaos in Iloilo City.
Badjaos who beg on the streets risk being ran over by vehicles or even manhandled by motorists and passengers who might find their activities irritating. It’s a good thing that Ilonggos are very compassionate people as we never heard of reports of our IPs getting bludgeoned in the middle of the highway.
In short, the Badjaos are here in Iloilo City not just because they are nomadic but due to lack of opportunities in their home provinces.
We now ask Cong. Hataman – what have you done for your people aside from howling at the ghost that you may have created by way of commission or omission?
The Court of Appeal’s decision on Panay Electric Co.’s petition to stop the expropriation case filed by rival firm MORE Power is very pregnant with meaning.
The CA will not even bother to issue a resolution on the case if the matter is already out of its hands. Whether the case is moot and academic or not, the CA decision is an eye-opener.
First, the decision was pretty clear in saying that nullifying Sections 10 and 17 of Republic Act 11212 (MORE Power’s congressional franchise) will not invalidate the franchise.
Section 10 authorizes MORE Power to exercise the power of eminent domain and acquire such private property as is actually necessary for the realization of the purpose for which the franchise is granted.
Section 17 states the power of MORE, as grantee, to effectively acquire power distribution assets. The distribution assets that exist within the franchise area could only refer to those of PECO.
Also, Sec. 17 allows PECO to operate the existing distribution system within the franchise area until MORE Power establishes its own distribution system which shall not exceed two years from the grant of the franchise.
According to the CA resolution, RA 11212 will remain valid since it is pursuant to Sections 22 and 27 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA Law) or RA 9136.
In short, the powers granted by RA 11212 to MORE, including the power of eminent domain, is also considered an implementation of the EPIRA Law. As long as the EPIRA Law is in effect, MORE Power can still invoke the power of eminent domain in carrying out its franchise.
The CA ruling also reiterated that PECO continues to be in business because of RA 11212, the very same law it seeks to invalidate.
On the other hand, the CA resolution also plots the likely legal course that MORE Power wants to follow if only to lay its hands on the power distribution services in Iloilo City.
Methinks that MORE Power is more (pun intended) confident in getting favourable decisions in the upper rung of the judiciary. But that is just a supposition as lawyers are adept in finding ways to reverse an adverse situation.
For now, MORE Power will have to find a way to extricate its expropriation case which is now stuck in the Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 35.
Mayor Oscar Garin Sr. of Guimbal, Iloilo heaped praises on Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. for being non-vindictive.
Tongue in cheek.
Take it with a ton of salt.