The House of Representatives wants cleansing in the leadership of the Energy Regulatory Commission. This being the reason why the lower chamber made the decision to grant a measly P1,000 budget for to the regulatory body for fiscal year 2018.
Specifically, a senior house official said the condition to restore the agency’s over P 300 M budget is for its suspended Chairman and CEO Jose Vicente Salazar to resign from his post.
“The House is sending a strong message that it wants Chairman Salazar to resign,” an administrative representative said.
Zamboanga Representative Celso Lobregat who sponsored the impossible budget said it was upon the instructions of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that to put financial pressure on the regulatory body for them to fix their internal problems.
“I think that would send a very strong message that the House of Representatives really wants the problems in ERC fixed… Yun ang inaano ni Speaker,” said Lobregat.
Meanwhile, officials and other employees of the commission have again asked for the resignation of Salazar who is currently serving a second suspension upon orders of the palace. In a statement, the remaining 4 ERC commissioners said the resignation of the embattled chairman is necessary to restore normalcy of operations in the agency.
“The Commissioners believe that Salazar’s resignation has become imperative and are appealing to him to do so especially in light of the P1k 2018 budget given to the agency.”
As early as April 2017, Salazar’s colleagues have submitted a comprehensive report to the Office of the President detailing the irregularities ranging from failure to follow procurement procedures, concealment of documents and unilaterally signing orders without Commission deliberation and approval.
Following the P 1,000 budget allocation from the lower house, employees for their part are now routing a signature campaign manifesto asking for Salazar to finally leave his post for the sake of over 300 ERC employees and the consuming public.
The ERC has been in hot water since the death of ERC Director and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Francisco Villa Jr. Before taking his life, Villa left notes pertaining to rigged bidding and other irregularities in procurement supposedly ordered by Salazar and his men.
President Duterte has repeatedly publicly asked for Salazar’s resignation but he remains defiant arguing that the ERC commissioners’ posts do not fall under the jurisdiction of the President.