The suspended Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission Jose Vicente Salazar is calling foul over Malacanan’s move to put him under his second preventive suspension for alleged various violations.
In a written Explanation/Comment sent by Salazar to the office of the President, the suspended ERC Chair said the commission is a ‘purely independent regulatory body; its Chairman and Commissioners are beyond the scope of this Honorable Office’s disciplinary jurisdiction.’ –said Salazar.
Salazar explained that the ERC was created under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 to establish a regulatory agency independent of politics and free from any dominating by the administration. He added that he was not accorded due process and that president Duterte has already rendered him guilty of the allegations thrown at him.
‘The fact that His Excellency, the President is already of the impression that Respondent Salazar committed corruption coupled with his repeated unequivocal public declaration that the former would eventually remove the latter, without even according Respondent Salazar the right to be heard, has lamentably placed this Honorable office’s impartiality in question,’ Salazar said referring to statements made by the president demanding his resignation from office.
The embattled Salazar has been in hot water since ERC Director and Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Jose Francisco Villa took his life. Villa left suicide notes implying that there is corruption happening in the agency. Before his passing, he also told his sister, veteran journalist Charie Villa that Salazar forced him to sign illegal contracts for Salazar’s favoured bidders.
Salazar is accused of corruption and gross insubordination among others. The House of Representatives has recently threatened to give the ERC a measly P 1,000 budget if Salazar still refuses to leave his post.