A Supreme Court (SC) justice expressed alarm over alleged leakages of documents at the tribunal that came to fore after they ordered a temporary stop to the implementation of a landmark policy allowing consumers to choose their own supplier of electricity.
In a letter, Justice Marvic Leonen told his fellow justices to tell their respective staff to take extraordinary precautions to prevent leakages of their synopses and votes during their discussions at en banc or division sessions
This very letter was leaked to The Manila Times.
Leonen said his office found an article in the online edition of Business Mirror entitled “Epira [Electric Power Industry Reform Act] incomplete without RCOA [Retail Competition and Open Access].”
According to him, the article lifted quotes from their synopses, which were circulated only among members of the full court.
The Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the implementation of Department of Energy (DoE) Circular DC2015-06-0010, Series of 2015, and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Resolutions 5, 10, 11 and 28, Series of 2016.
The TRO was issued on February 21, or less than a week before February 26, when the resolutions were supposed to take effect.
The DoE’s order said power users consuming an average of at least 1 megawatt (MW) per month are required to source power from a licensed retail electricity supplier (RES).
Most of the power customers today are being supplied by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).
“The court also noted the urgent need to issue the TRO, considering the February 26 deadline. If a TRO is not issued, the petition will become moot, and petitioners stand to suffer grave and irreparable injury, because they will be disconnected from the distribution utility or made to pay a supplier of last resort a 10-percent premium between the higher contracts and the Wholesale Electricity Spot
Market, the SC said…” a statement that the Business Mirror article quoted from the synopses.
Leonen did not print his name in the letter but he signed the same using the letterhead of his office that reads “From the Chambers of Mario M.V.F. Leonen, Associate Justice.”