Walden Bello tells Zenaida Ducut to pack up
MANILA, Philippines – “Shut up, start packing.”
Akbayan Representative Walden Bello told Zenaida Ducut, chairperson of the Energy Regulatory Commission, to move out of her office after the latter said in a statement that she will not resign.
Bello and another Akbayan lawmaker Ibarra Gutierrez on Thursday filed a complaint against Ducut, accusing her of gross neglect of duty for not looking after the interest of consumers.
They said Ducut approved the record-high P4.15 per kilowatt-hour power rate increase requested by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) without considering whether this was warranted.
“There is no way Ducut can dodge the people’s outrage over her gross incompetence and dereliction of duty,” Bello said in a press statement Sunday.
“So instead of issuing statements that only aggravate her situation, she should just shut up and start packing her things,” Bello said.
Ducut has said there was no irregularity in the agency’s approval of a staggered implementation of Meralco’s P4.15/kWh increase in power generation and other pass-on charges for December 2013.
“There was no irregularity in approving the clearance sought for the staggered generation cost-recovery of Meralco because the decision was made only with the end view of cushioning the impact on the electricity consumers,” Ducut said in a statement.
Bello said that his group is not surprised of Ducut’s reactions since, according to the leftist legislator, the ERC chair has displayed the “kapit tuko” tactics that the appointees of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did.
He, however, is confident that Ducut would be removed from her post as the ERC chair.
“Part of reforming the power industry means removing officials who fail the mandate to serve the Filipino people,” Bello said.
He added that Ducut’s resignation could spark the reformation of the ERC, and the overhaul of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) which created ERC and the unprecedented rate hike of Meralco.
“Ducut also embodies the failure of power privatization and regulatory capture. The ERC should not just give in to distribution utilities like Meralco who cash in on the people’s need for electricity.”
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