Cusi fails to hurdle confirmation hearing
Unlike Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi failed to get the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA) in his first confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Not even the appearance of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III at the CA energy committee headed by Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon helped Cusi ride through questioning by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Cusi was asked to return for another hearing on Oct. 12 with additional data sought by Lacson.
“That’s OK. That’s fine, that is a healthy discussion…at least his questions were right,” Cusi said of Lacson.
Lacson wanted to know the number of barangays with 50 percent of sitios that were electrified as well as a working figure on how much government had lost from the Power Purchase Agreements with independent power producers that started during the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos.
Lacson also requested Cusi to provide information on the Feed-in-Tariff and “how it helps accelerate investment in renewable sources.” The tariff is a fixed rate guaranteed to renewable energy producers to encourage investments in clean energy.
The hearing lasted two hours with a 30-minute break during which some senators, including Pimentel, discussed Lacson’s questions with Cusi.
The hearing started with San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora saying the House contingent of the CA energy committee had no questions for Cusi and was ready to endorse his nomination in plenary.
But senators in the committee, like Lacson, had questions for Cusi.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said it was a tradition in the CA to allow its members to ask questions and require the submission of data from Cabinet and other presidential nominees. This is intended to avoid a situation where a nominee may be confirmed by the committee but rejected in plenary when a dissatisfied member could invoke Section 20 of the CA rules, suspending action on the confirmation.
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