President Bongbong Marcos has been forced to pick sides between his two close friends when he vetoed a bill seeking to expand the franchise area of Davao Light and Power Co. owned by the Aboitiz family.
Marcos refused to sign House Bill No. 10554 because it would encroach on the franchise area controlled by North Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO) which is backed by the Floirendo-Lagdameo family.
Marcos is close to both bilyonaryo families. He appointed his childhood friend Anton Floirendo Lagdameo as Special Assistant to the President while he named his BFF, Aboitiz Group Sabin Aboitiz, as head of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC).
“I am constrained to veto the bill due to the susceptibility of the proposed expansion of the franchise area of Davao Light and Power Company Inc. to legal and/or constitutional challenge due to the apparent overlap and possible infringement into the subsisting franchise, permits, and contracts previously granted to North Davao Electric Cooperative Inc.,” Marcos said in a letter to Congress dated July 27.
Marcos noted that Davao Power’s 25-year, expanded franchise would cover part of NORDECO’s franchise area – specifically Tagum City, the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro, and Talaingod in Davao del Norte – which “will subsist until 2028 and until 2033.”
Davao Power serves Davao City; Panabo City; and Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.
Marcos said under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), all existing franchises should be allowed to finish their full term.
In justifying his move, Marcos said the bill would breach the 1987 Constitution’s non-impairment clause as the expansion of Davao Power would lead to the termination of NORDECO’s franchise.
Marcos branded the bill as a “prohibited collateral attack” on NORDECO which is not allowed by the courts.