It seems like Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco has long been planning to save his backer Ramon Ang’s billions from the gasp of the government. Velasco has even gone as far as to willingly chose not to participate in the leadership of the 18th Congress in order to head the House Committee on Energy – all to have jurisdiction over the controversial PSALM issue.
According to a recent interview with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Velasco was offered the position of Senior Deputy Speaker at the beginning of the 18th Congress. With the post, he would have been a key figure in all of the major business of the House, such as the passing of the budget and other priority measures. The post would have also helped him and the entire House transition into his leadership as Speaker at the presumed change of office through the term-sharing agreement.
But Velasco turned the post down, as he was more concerned for the House Committee on Energy. Beyond anything, he made it clear that he wanted to head the Energy Committee above all else.
He couldn’t risk having his interests in Energy be compromised by the SDS position.
“Well, out of respect, dahil presumptively siya Speaker, by the way ang in-offer ko sa kanya, Senior Deputy Speaker, in-offer ko sa kanya sa lahat ng desisyon sa House, sa budget hearing, sa lahat ng priorities sama ka. Sabi niya, ‘hindi, importante sakin Energy.’ Siya nagsabing Energy, so sabi ko sa kanya, may bumulong sakin, ‘boss, maganda lang kasi yung opisina niyan, nasa may penthouse yan sa Congress,'” Speaker Cayetano said in a radio interview yesterday.
“Sabi ko, ang Energy, ‘hindi, boss yung Power Com’. So nilapitan ko siya, sabi ko, Senior Deputy Speaker and Power Com. sabi niya, pwede ba paghiwalayin yon? Sabi ko, pwede. So hindi daw, kasi Energy pa talaga. So naniwala naman ako na yun ang gusto niya,” the House Leader continued.
Under Velasco’s leadership, the House Committee on Energy did squat to look into the P100 B in uncollected fees owed PSALM and the Philippine government. Of this, P23 B is owed by one company – San Miguel Corp’s South Premier Power Corporation.
The only reason PSALM’s issue came to light is because of the initiative of Representatives Mike Defensor and Jonathan Alvarado, who head the Committees on Good Governance and Public Accounts, respectively.
Where was the Committee on Energy? Intentionally blind to the issue? Or was their chairman too busy organizing an ouster plot to claim power of the House?
“So umaangal yung iba niyang kakampi, may pumunta sa amin privately, may pumunta sa hearing at sabihin, bakit hindi niyo sinama yung Energy. Eh hindi naman namin ine-exclude eh, sila ang hindi nila inintindi ito for four years, so obligasyon namin na i-bring up ito. So ako duda ko, may kinalaman din yon sa timing nung coup at paninira kasi napakalaking pera nito, di ba P100-bilyon,” Speaker Cayetano told reporters.