Palace opposes lifting of TRO on power rate hike

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2014 03:10 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2014 11:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang does not want the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the power rate hike lifted, saying it is against public interest.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the people should not suffer the burden of "unjustifiable" price hikes.

Coloma said the Palace has not made a prejudgment and is not preempting a government probe on whether there was collusion among power companies that led to the proposed rate hike.

"We reiterate government's commitment to protect the welfare of the citizens. As the President has pointed out, the trigger for the significant power rate increase that is now at issue in the Supreme Court was a foreseeable event for which Meralco and other industry players should have prepared," he said.

"The President also believes in enforcing the provision of the EPIRA on possible disgorgement of profits if current investigations by the DOE and the DOJ will establish that there has been collusion among the industry players."

Coloma said the power rate hike should not be passed on to consumers.

"Therefore, the proposed petition for the lifting of the TRO is not consistent with the public interest," he said.