MANILA— The Office of the Ombudsman ordered on Thursday a one-year suspension on former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose Vicente Salazar and four other commissioners of the agency.
Salazar and the four other ERC officials were charged with violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
It arose from the complaint filed by the group Alyansa Para Sa Bagong Pilipinas, Inc. (APSBPI) in the alleged anomalous resolution of the ERC for the conduct of the so-called competitive selection process (CSP) in the purchase of power requirements of distribution utilities.
The APSBPI accused the ERC of allegedly intentionally favoring the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) through the delayed implementation of the CSP resolution on April 30, 2016, which was supposed to have been implemented on Nov. 6, 2015.
The complainant argued that Meralco had the opportunity for the “backdoor negotiation,” so the 20-year power supply agreements (PSAs) were sealed.
They added that by doing so, the Meralco and even its affiliated distribution utilities were allegedly automatically “exempted” from undergoing the competitive process, which was requisite in the ERC’s 2015 CSP resolution.
The suspended ERC commissioners are Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc, Alfredo J. Non, Josefina Patricia A. Magpale-Asirit, and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana.
Salazar, meanwhile, was ordered to pay the amount equivalent to his six-month salary after he was dismissed from the service by Malacañang last October this year.