Palace backs CA order to temporarily halt suspension of 4 ERC execs
Malacañang on Wednesday said the Court of Appeals’ decision to temporarily halt the suspension of four Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials is a “step in the right direction.”
“Per the Office of the Executive Secretary, the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) is founded on extreme necessity,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“The [ERC] would have been seriously paralyzed and the economy, particularly the energy sector, would have suffered grave damage had the TRO not been issued,” he added.
The CA’s 9th Division through Associate Justice Mariflor Punzalan Castillo issued on Feb. 9 a TRO against the suspension of Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Alfredo Non, Josefina Patricia Magpala-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana.
In December 2017, the Ombudsman found the commissioners guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, aggravated by simple misconduct and simple neglect of duty.
They were accused of giving undue advantage to power utilities like the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for exempting them from the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) in 2016, which requires electricity distributors to hold competitive bidding for their power to lower consumer rates.
The anti-graft body ordered the one-year suspension of the commissioners as well as the filing of graft charges against the officials for causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits to private parties.
In October, President Rodrigo Duterte sacked ERC chair Jose Salazar over allegations of corruption, misconduct, and neglect of duty. /jpv
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