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Parallel probe still rolling vs ERC execs over lavish trips—Abella

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 11:39 AM September 01, 2017
ernesto abella

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. KING RODRIGUEZ/ Presidential Photo (FILE)

(Updated 1:27 p.m., Sept. 1) Malacañang on Friday said it was investigating officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) allegedly receiving money from a regulated company to fund their junkets abroad.

READ: 5 ERC officials sued for graft over ‘extravagant’ travels

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“The matter pertaining to extravagant trips allegedly made by ERC officials, being presidential appointees, is still under investigation by the Office of the Executive Secretary,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

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ERC officials are facing charges of graft, indirect bribery, and technical malversation before the Office of the Ombudsman after a complaint was filed against them for allegedly having extravagant trips abroad.

The ERC commissioners and director facing complaint are Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Asirit, Geronimo Sta. Ana, and Dir. Debora Anastacia Layugan.

Sanlakas Secretary General Jose Aaron Pedrosa Jr., who filed the complaint in July, said the officials from 2009 to 2015 were “recipients” of money from the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), which is regulated by the ERC, to finance their trips abroad.

In a letter dated August 18, the Office of the President asked the 4 commissioners and the director to explain their alleged lavish trips abroad.

The letter, signed by acting Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Ryan  Acosta, said the officials were accused of “serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct.” They were given 10 days to comment on the accusations against them.

Acosta said the letter to the ERC officials was made after Malacañang received a complaint lodged by the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) led by President Rodolfo Javellana Jr.

UFCC has accused the ERC officials of using funds from PEMC to finance their trips abroad. JPV

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TAGS: ERC, Ernesto Abella, investigation, junket trips, Malacañang, Office of the Ombudsman
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