[Statement] Power for People calls for the immediate suspension and permanent removal of erring ERC commissioners -Power for People Coalition

Power for People calls for the immediate suspension and permanent removal of erring ERC commissioners

The decision of the Ombudsman suspending the 4 ERC commissioners for allowing Meralco’s mishandling of the bill deposit accounts once again confirms that the ERC commissioners have colluded with and continually favored the Meralco to the detriment of the consumers and the public service.

In December last year, the same Commissioners – Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana – were meted one-year suspensions as penalty for resetting the effective date of the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) to favour MERALCO and other utilities.

That suspension order, however, was immediately restrained by the Court of Appeals (CA) and was not implemented by the Office of the President.

The present suspension is already on appeal at the CA and could suffer the same fate.
Power for People strongly affirms its position that the suspension should be permanent and perpetual. This is not the first time that the accused commissioners faced corruption charges.

Public office is a public trust. The numerous controversies marring the ERC—from the death of Director Villa, the anomalous 7 Power Supply Agreements (PSAs), to the mishandling of bill deposit accounts—have eroded any facade of responsibility, integrity, and credibility on the part of the ERC Commissioners.

Fair, impartial and just regulation is in fact impaired by the continued tenure of commissioners who are already adjudged by the Ombudsman as partial to and biased for utilities like MERALCO. ERC urgently needs a thorough-going purge that will rid it of bias and incompetence. The solution, clearly, is: suspend, dismiss and replace!
We urge the Duterte administration to take the repeated suspensions of the ERC Commissioners seriously. If this administration is in fact serious in eradicating corruption and in cleaning the government from corrupt practices, it should fire the ERC commissioners urgently.

We, consumers, have the right to safe, clean, and affordable energy. We cannot expect our rights to be protected if ERC Commissioners consistently place the public interest second priority.

Erwin Puhawan, +63 939 727 4809
Zaira Baniaga, +639 39 707 1589

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