December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

ERC commissioners issue resolution vs Salazar appointments, reorganization

ALL four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Tuesday, April 18, issued a resolution “holding in abeyance” the reorganization and appointments made by embattled chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar.

ERC Commissioners Alfredo J. Non, Geronimo D. Sta. Ana, Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc, and Josephina Patricia A. Magpale-Asirit signed Resolution no. 2 Series of 2017 holding in abeyance the reorganization and reassignment of all ERC personnel made starting March 20.

The resolutions sought to stop the appointment of Ronaldo G. Gomez, Chief Energy Regulation Officer at the ERC Mindanao Field Office, as officer-in-charge (OIC)-executive director, the constitution of the Power Supply Agreement-Technical Working Group, the reassignment and designation of OICs and directors, and the reassignment engineer Rey Wilson P. Abesamis to the Investigation and Enforcement Division.

It also sought to halt the office order organizing a team for a World Bank project, the reorganization of the Investigatory Unit for a power rate hike in 2013, and the signing authority for the Office of the Chairman and CEO granted to Mr. Gomez.

The resolution said an office order was issued designating Mr. Sta. Ana as OIC while Mr. Salazar was on leave but only as presiding officer during the meetings, which added “to the existing confusion” inside the ERC.

The commissioners said they already raised the matter of Mr. Gomez’s appointment during their March 21 regular meeting with Mr. Salazar, saying the chairman does not have the sole authority to appoint him.

“[T]he same objection was reiterated by four (4) Commissioners in the regular Commission Meeting of 28 March 2017 where Chairman Salazar, the signatory to the assailed Office Order, invoked that being the Chief Executive Officer of the ERC, the power to appoint including personnel movements, are within his sole prerogative to make,” the resolution read.

The commissioners said they “formally interposed their objection to all the acts of designation and reassignment of said critical personnel on grounds that these are contrary to the provisions of applicable laws and established precedents.”

Under the resolution, all issuances which have been modified or repealed by the said office orders were restored and actions performed by the designated officers under assailed orders were recognized as valid as long as it did not cause damage to the ERC.

On Wednesday, the four commissioners filed a complaint before the Civil Service Commission against Mr. Salazar, in connection with the said appointments without their approval.

Also just recently, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had recommended the filing of charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against Mr. Salazar and three others over an allegedly anomalous audio visual-presentation (AVP) project.

Aside from Mr. Salazar, the NBI recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against Prescia Vanessa A. Reynante-Reynoso of the ERC Legal Division, Teofilo G. Arbalate, Jr. of the Management Information System Division, and Luis B. Morelos of FATFREE, Inc.