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CSC junks complaints vs ERC chief over questionable appointments

/ 11:05 PM July 05, 2017
Jose Vicente Salazar

Jose Vicente Salazar, ERC chairman and CEO (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has dismissed complaints filed against Jose Vicente Salazar, chairman and CEO of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), over questionable appointments he allegedly made in the agency. The CSC made the order public on Wednesday.

Last April, ERC Commissioners Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit, Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, and Geronimo Sta. Ana accused Salazar of violating the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (ARTA), and a CSC order by carrying out an agency revamp under which Ronaldo Gomez was named officer-in-charge/executive director.

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Before the appointment, Gomez was the chief energy regulatory officer at ERC’s Davao-Mindanao field office and had served the agency for seven years.

His appointment was the start of a wide-ranging reorganization at ERC, with the three senior service directors reshuffled along with other unit heads.

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Complainants alleged that the power to approve appointments to critical agency positions is imbued with the same collegiality attending the ERC’s quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative functions.

In their complaint filed before the CSC, the four commissioners cited Executive Order 172, which created the Energy Regulatory Board – the predecessor of ERC – as the basis for their position.

In response to the complaint, Salazar said his exclusive power to appoint and the overall responsibility for ERC’s operations and performance are founded on Section 38 of Epira, which made the ERC chairman the CEO of the commission.

EO 172 does not contain this specific provision, he said.

Epira invalidates any legal provision that is inconsistent with its specific mandates, he added. Thus, although EO 172 continues to be in effect, it cannot be used to diminish the appointing power granted by EPIRA solely to the ERC chairman and CEO.

In Order Number 17-0221, the CSC cited the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS) in dismissing the complaints against Salazar.

Section 7, Paragraph A of the revised rules excludes presidential appointees from CSC jurisdiction.

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Also referring to Section 38 of Epira, the order, which was signed by CSC Assistant Commissioner Ariel Ronquillo, said: “The above provision is clear in stating that the ERC Chairman is a presidential appointee. That being the case, any disciplinary administrative case filed against him cannot be taken cognizance by the Commission. Necessarily, the instant complaints filed against Salazar must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.” /atm

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TAGS: Alfredo Non, Civil Service Commission, CSC, Energy Regulator Commission, ERC, Geronimo Sta. Ana, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Jose Vicente Salazar, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit, Ronaldo Gomez
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