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Leviste solar firm offers ‘sweetheart deals’ to hasten franchise application – Atienza

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Senior Deputy Minority Floor Leader Lito Atienza has accused the Solar Para sa Bayan Corporation (SPBC) of offering “sweatheart deals” to some lawmakers to hasten the passage of its legislative franchise application.

Atienza said the SPBC has been offering electrification proposals to some district legislators particularly those with constituents residing in remote areas in exchange of their support for the solar company’s franchise application under House Bill 8179.

House Bill 8179 is authored by Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap (Bohol).

“Ang daming members ng Congress na naligaw, binigyan (daw) sila ng magandang vision: ‘You want electricity in you barrio, in your district, in everyplace?’ Siyempre, sabi nung congressman: ‘Yes!’ O, you sponsor this measure, priority one ka. Bibigyan ka ng murang elektrisidad sa lahat ng ituturo mo. Yun ang dahilan kaya madami ang nag-sponsor (nung franchise application),” said Atienza.

Atienza stressed that SPBC, owned by Leandro Leviste, seems to have been given a “VIP treatment’ by members of the House committee on legislative franchises when its franchise application was approved after only two sessions. Industry stakeholders, particularly those who are opposing the proposal, were also reportedly not invited to the committee hearings.

“Parang may special accommodation doon sa aplikante… Ang sinasabi namin: obviously favored, obviously special consideration which Congress should totally disregard,” said Atienza.

On Wednesday (September 12), Atienza and 15 other legislators filed House Resolution 2128 urging the House committee on rules to revert back to the committee level, the franchise application of SBPC to the congressional panel on legislative franchises under Palawan Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez.

Atienza and Romero are optimistic that lawmakers this time will scrutinize thoroughly, the legislative franchise application of SBPC once it is rescinded back to Alvarez’s panel for further discussions.