By: Marites Toledo
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday ordered the officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to resign because of rampant graft and corruption.
Duterte said all of them must resign since they bastardized the agency.
Immediately, the ERC officials made it clear that they will not abide with the President’s demand.
Jose Vicente Salazar, ERC chairman and chief executive officer, told the media that he needs to talk to Duterte for him to know the development in the ERC so that the President will really know the entire picture of the agency.
Commissioner Alfredo No asserted to the media that the officials will not give up their posts without the benefit of the investigation that will pin down who are really corrupt in the ERC and who are not.
Duterte’s demand for the ERC officials to leave the agency was made after ERC bidding department chairman Francisco Villa Jr. took his own life due to pressure on him by a top official of the agency to favor a certain company’s deal with ERC.
The corruption tainted deal of ERC was mentioned in Villa’s three suicide notes.
Duterte said he had already the information about the rampant corruption with the ERC as given to him by his intelligence group.
He also claimed that he got the names of the corrupt officials.
The President stressed that if the corrupt officials will stand pat on their decision to stay at the ERC, then, he will strongly urge the Congress to abolish the ERC instead.
The ERC is the agency that approves the request of a company to increase the electricity rate.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Resolution No. 566 strongly urging the House Energy Committee to investigate the “midnight deals” between the ERC and power generation companies affiliated with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), which allegedly resulted in the suicide of Villa.
Zarate assailed the ERC for extending an order that allowed distribution companies to conduct a competitive selection process (CSP) in power supply procurement.
This led to the extension of Meralco’s agreement with seven generation companies to have a 20-year power supply agreements.
Duterte stressed that he has heard rampant corruption in the ERC for a long period of time already.