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No to sweetheart deals: House likely to junk super solar franchise of Loren’s son

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House leadership will most likely oppose the legislative franchise application of Solar para sa Bayan Corporation (SPBC) if the company’s existing terms and condition will not be amended.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza (Buhay party-list) said no less than former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told him to continue with his fiscalizing so that the public will be informed about the alleged “sweetheart deals” inserted in the SBPC’s franchise application under House Bill 8179

“The leadership, as far as I see it now, with facts being brought out… is not for it. That’s how I see it. The Speaker has not lobbied for the approval, and in fact sabi nga niya (sakin): ‘continue your studies of the issues and bright it out to the public (all those irregularities)’,” said Atienza.

BPC is a single-proprietorship entity owned by Leandro Legarda Leviste, the son of Senator Loren Legarda.

Atienza also disclosed that Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya gave him an assurance that the solar company’s franchise application will not be tackled in the plenary for now until the issues and alleged irregularities in SPBC’s application will be resolved.

The former Manila Mayor and 14 other congressmen led by 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero filed House Resolution 2128, urging the House Committee on Rules to revert back to the committee level, the franchise application of SBPC under House Bill 8179.

Being the head of the majority bloc, Andaya chairs the lower house’s rules panel.

Meanwhile, Atienza accused members of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises which is headed by Palawan Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez of railroading the approval of SBPC’s franchise in the committee level last week despite having only two sessions about it.

Atienza stressed that Alvarez’s panel didn’t even invite the oppositors of Leviste’s solar firm which consisted of main players in the power sector and electric cooperatives and independent producers in the country.

“Noong ni-railroad nila, alam kong meron ng irregularity. Sabi nga nila, kapag ang (ilang miyembro ng) majority (bloc) ay may ginagawa nang extra effort to push for anything, then i-suspect mo na may something (irregular) in it,” said Atienza.

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