Duterte: I heard of ERC corruption even before Villa’s suicide
MANILA — President Duterte was aware of the alleged irregularities in the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) even before one of its directors, Francisco Villa Jr., took his own life due to alleged corruption in the regulatory agency.
Speaking in Malacañang on Monday night, the President did not mince words as he let out his disgust over the hiring of “hundreds” of consultants by officials of the quasi-judicial body tasked to regulate the power sector.
“I have been trying to look at their office. They have been spending so much on consultants. They have used up the government’s money. It’s like a milking cow,” Mr. Duterte said.
“Where’s the brain of these fools? Why do they need hundreds of consultants? That was my misgiving. I was just keeping quiet until the (Villa’s) suicide came out,” he said.
Mr. Duterte reiterated his plan to ask the Congress to abolish the ERC and replace it with a new body after ERC chair Jose Vicente Salazar and other ERC officials refused to heed the President’s demand for them to quit their posts.
In several suicide notes, Villa said he took his own life after Salazar pressured him to award contracts to a favored private company without public bidding.
Salazar had denied Villa’s allegations, saying he was ready to face the President and explain the supposed corrupt practices in the regulatory body. SFM