Senator wants ERC head to take a leave while probe is ongoing
DAVAO CITY – Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian is recommending that Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar take a leave of absence while investigation is ongoing on the allegations hurled against the regulatory body.
“My personal view is, to hasten the investigation conducted by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), COA (Commission on Audit) and others, and also to relieve pressure from the institution, I think out of delicadeza, he (Salazar) can take a leave so there’s complete freedom when it comes to the investigation,” the lawmaker told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Electricity Summit (PES) 2016 here.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has more muted stance on the issue, but when pressed by the media, he said “if he (Salazar) will ask for my advice, then I will recommend it (leave of absence).”
He added “that is a prudent thing to do to give way to an independent investigation. We already asked NBI to investigate and we believe the investigation is ongoing.”
Cusi similarly recognizes the vital role of the ERC when it comes to regulating the restructured electricity sector – and that its abolition could redound to further delays in rulings and in laying down regulatory frameworks that shall advance reforms in the electricity sector.
Gatchalian, meanwhile, qualified that his stand is for the ERC to be maintained as an institution, noting that the recommended leave will just be to ensure that the probe process of various agencies could be done neutrally and without question of influence.