ERC to seek Malacañang guidance over suspension of commissioners

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The Energy Regulatory Commission said that it would be seeking guidance from the Malacañang following the suspension of four of its commissioners ordered by the Ombudsman, its ranking official said.

In a report, ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera said that will defer to the Office of the President as the suspension will have an impact not only on the consumers but also to the economy.

“The suspension of the four commissioners will result in a paralysis,” Devanadera said, stressing that there are a total of P1.88 trillion applications pending in their office.

She was referring to ERC Commissioners Gloria Yap-Taruc, Alfredo Non, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana who were all suspended for one year by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The commissioners were suspended after being found administratively liable for “conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service aggravated by simple misconduct and simple neglect of duty,” a report from the Philippine Star said.

The ERC chair also warned of possible brownouts following the suspension, since the pending applications in the office consist of power distributors’ capital expenditures, which are needed to address rehabilitation and repairs.

However, Devanadera said that the commissioners continue to function despite the suspension order and the ERC will wait for the direction from Malacañang as the appointing authority.

“The ERC acts as a collegial body, which means that decisions are not based on just one person,” Devanadera said.

In a decision last December 11, the four ERC commissioners were suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman for one year following the alleged anomaly involving power supply deals with 38 companies, seven are affiliated with the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

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