Energy secretary nominee Raphael Lotilla has resigned as Lead Independent Director of the Aboitiz Power Corporation.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday, Aboitiz Power announced that Lotilla resigned as its lead independent director effective July 11. This comes after his nomination as Energy secretary was declared “pending clarification of his employment status.”
Under the Republic Act. No 7638 or the Department of Energy Act of 1992, “No officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private company or enterprise primarily engaged in the energy industry shall be eligible for appointment as Secretary within two (2) years from his retirement, resignation, or separation therefrom.”
However, The Department of Justice (DOJ) said that there are no legal hurdles in appointing Lotilla as the new Energy Secretary.
DOJ said that Lotilla’s nomination as Department of Energy’s Secretary is “valid and lawful” even while he served as an independent director of Aboitiz Power Corporation and Ace Enexor, Inc.
“The position of the department is that the appointment should be valid given that an independent director does not fall within those prohibited by the Department of Energy Act of 1992,” Atty. Mico Clavano, representing Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, said.
Citing the Revised Corporation Code, Securities Regulations Code, and Code of Corporate Governance, DOJ said that an independent director is “not an officer based on the nature, duties, functions, and responsibilities vis-a-vis the corporation he serves.”
“It is clear that an independent director like Lotilla does not fall within the proscription under Section 8 of R.A. 7638 against an officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private company or enterprise primarily engaged in the energy industry,” DOJ said.