Matibag banned from Senate budget hearing
MANILA, Philippines — Melvin Matibag, president of the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), is banned from the remaining Senate budget hearings after getting ejected from Thursday’s meeting when he called the proceedings “political” as Sen. Manny Pacquiao raised allegations of anomaly at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
The hearing was related to the proposed 2022 budgets for the Department of Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Electrification Administration—all covered by subcommittee “E” of the Senate committee on finance.
Pacquiao likened the operation of the WESM by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines to the Pharmally controversy that is hounding the Department of Health.
Among those he cited as being involved in the alleged WESM irregularities were Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Ma. Rene Ann Lourdes Matibag, Melvin’s wife.
The TransCo president reacted heatedly, calling out Pacquiao for insinuating his political agenda at the hearing.
On Friday, in a letter to Cusi, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said “any abusive, offensive or otherwise improper speech or behavior” at Senate hearings will not be tolerated.
“As such, until attorney Matibag is able to behave in a professional manner, I am constrained to prohibit his attendance to the remaining hearings of the committee on finance (subcommittee E),” he said.
In answer, Cusi wrote to Gatchalian that the budget hearing “may have been used unwittingly as a platform” for political interests.
Pacquiao was president of the ruling PDP-Laban party, but is now running as a candidate of his Promdi party.
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