The new three-month suspension of the four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission by the Office of the Ombudsman could derail future power projects.
“That’s a problem. ERC needs the commissioners to function. We can’t afford to delay the power projects. Future consequences will be a big blow to our consumers and the economy,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said Monday.
The Ombudsman ordered anew the suspension of four commissioners of the ERC for tolerating the misuse of bill deposits by allowing commingling with the capital or operation cost of Manila Electric Co. contrary to the purpose for which the bill deposits was established.
The Ombudsman ordered the suspension of commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana for three months without pay.
The four commissioners filed an appeal and a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order with the Court of Appeals against new three-month suspension order.
Aboitiz Power Corp. president Antonio Moraza reiterated the need for a functioning ERC.
“We need a functioning ERC. They have much to do. Without the four commissioners that won’t be possible,” Moraza said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called on Malacañang to investigate the actions of the four commissioners regarding the bill deposit.
“It’s about time to improve the check and balance…improve transparency and make ERC stronger,” Gatchalian, head of the Senate Committee on Energy, said.
“I think the Office of the President should investigate thoroughly the decision of the commission and investigate the action of the commissioners,” he said.
The Ombudsman acted on the complaint filed by the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. represented by Rafael Antonio Acebedo and Ma. Paz Esperanza Coronel.