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BDO disowns complaint vs Meralco

May 26, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 268 views

THE House Committee on Legislative Franchises has confirmed receiving a letter from Banco de Oro (BDO), which disowned a supposed complaint by the bank against the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

“Yes, there was a letter,” committee chairman, Parañaque City 2nd district Rep. Gus Tambunting said on Sunday.

Tambunting was referring to the letter sent to the House panel by BDO Chief Legal Counsel Alvin C. Go, wherein the latter stated for the record that “the bank has not authorized” Manjares & Manjares law firm, signed by Norberto C. Manjares III, to send an earlier letter dated May 20, 2024 on a certain complaint of BDO against Meralco.

This took place even as the committee was deliberating on measures calling for a 25-year extension to the power distribution giant’s legislative franchise. Meralco’s current franchise will expire in 2028.

Some members of the committee have claimed that the supposed complaint of BDO against Meralco—if left unresolved–will have a negative effect on the franchise application.

In the May 20 letter, Manjares reportedly asked Tambunting to “consider the complaint of BDO Unibank… against Meralco in deciding the legislative franchise of Meralco”.

The letter was brought up during the committee hearing on Meralco’s franchise renewal bid last May 21 and became a subject of news reports afterward.

In response, the bank, through Go, said in its own letter dated May 23, 2024 that it is “still investigating” the release of the unauthorized documents pertaining to the complaint.

As such, “BDO finds the urgent need to inform the Honorable Committee that it has no participation whatsoever regarding the preparation or sending of the said letter” of Manjares.

“For the information of the Honorable Committee, the Bank and Meralco are presently engaged in discussions to resolve the issues” and that “these discussions are, in fact, progressing well”.

BDO added that it “prefers to amicably resolve its issues with Meralco through a healthy dialogue”.

The complaint is related to BDO’s application for electric service for its expansion project in Makati City, which Meralco said requires a capacity addition that would entail the construction of a new substation.

Meralco, however, assured during the Congressional hearing that it continuously fulfills its mandate and that it serves the current power requirements of the bank, and that the additional capacity needed in the future would need to be addressed.