Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque backtracked on his statement that the suspension order on the four Energy Regulatory Commission commissioners has already been implemented after confirming that the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO).
In a radio interview Wednesday (February 14), Roque said the TRO issued by the CA appears to have been moot already because the suspension has been implemented and acting commissioners have been named by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Dahil tayo ay abugado rin, baka po parang ang isyu ngayon ay paano mong mai-implement ang TRO, na implemented na iyong pinipigilan ng ating Court of Appeals. Parang naging moot na iyong temporary restraining order na iyan dahil ayan na nga po, nagkaroon ng implementasyon at nagkaroon na ng appointment ng OIC,” he said when asked by ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon about the TRO.
Roque said the ERC will not suffer from “irreparable injury” from the suspension of the four commissioners because their replacements have been appointed.
A few hours later, however, Roque suddenly lauded the CA’s issuance of TRO as “a step in the right direction.”
“Per the Office of the Executive Secretary, the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) is founded on extreme necessity,” he said in a statement.
“The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) would have been seriously paralyzed and the economy, particularly the energy sector, would have suffered grave damage had the (TRO) not been issued,” he added.
The Office of the Ombudsman suspended ERC commissioners Alfredo J. Non, Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia M. Asirit, and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana last year for allegedly favoring Meralco and other power utilities by delaying the bidding for power supply contracts.
The CA, however, issued a TRO on February 9 halting the implementation of the suspension order so as not to “impair public service.”