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Group asks SC to suspend ERC commissioners: Di sila pwedeng magtrabaho!

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The Supreme Court (SC) has been asked to allow the Office Ombudsman to impose the one-year suspension order against four Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) commissioners.

The Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas (ABP) on Tuesday (March 13) filed a petition asking the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or status quo ante order against the 60-day TRO issued by the CA against the Ombudsman order.

“The Court of Appeals, even on terms it may deem just, has no discretion to stay a decision of the Ombudsman, as such procedural matter is governed specifically by the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman,” read the ABP petition.

Last September 29, 2017, the Ombudsman slapped a one-year suspension without pay against ERC Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta. Ana, who were all found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service aggravated by simple misconduct.

However, the CA has issued a resolution on Feb. 9 which granted the petition of the four commissioners to issue a TRO against the Ombudsman order.

The Ombudsman suspended the four commissioners in connection with the alleged anomalous agreement on electricity supply with 38 companies, seven of which are connected to the Manila Electric Company.

It could be recalled that in 2016 the ERC allowed a 45-day delay in the implementation of a competitive selection process which allowed the 38 companies to purchase 4, 500 megawatts of electricity supply without the benefit of competitive bidding.

The ABP said the incident deprived the 40 million consumers of Meralco with their right to a competitively-determined generation rates for the next 20 years to the consequent disadvantages to the public and electric consumers amounting to more than P10 billion a year.