An Ilonggo lawyer has cried harassment following a threat by the legal counsel of Panay Electric Co. to file a disbarment case against him for investigating the alleged offshore accounts of the utility firm.
“If they want to file a disbarment case against me, be my guest. There’s no legal ground for that. This harassment from PECO means they want to cow me in fear so I will remain silent,” concerned lawyer Zafiro Lauron said.
Lauron said that as a utility firm, PECO is involved in a business “imbued with public interest and therefore must be open to scrutiny at all times by the people they serve.” PECO is the former electric distributor of Iloilo City whose franchise was not renewed by Congress after it expired in January.
“As a resident of Iloilo City, I am compelled by my civic duty to pursue any information that may appear detrimental to the interest of the people of the city. If nothing wrong is found against them, well and good. But if the company did anything wrong then they have to face the court and the people they serve,” he added.
Lauron is set to file papers in court to compel the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate the alleged offshore accounts of PECO that were found in documents leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
PECO has strongly denied Lauron’s allegations, adding that neither the company nor the Cacho family, as owner of PECO, has any offshore investments.
“The financial records of the company and the Cacho family are open for scrutiny by the appropriate authorities. Whatever investments the company or family may have are all above-board and compliant with law,” the Cacho family said in a statement.
Lauron, however, said that as a company that supplied electricity to the people of Iloilo City, “PECO has to account for every centavo that passed its tillers.”
Lauron urged PECO to show proof disproving the allegations “instead of shooting the messenger.”