By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles has urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to invalidate the existing operation contract in wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) for allegedly being “invalid from the very beginning.”
Nograles, senior vice chair of the House committee on energy and representative of PBA Party-list said the contract between the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation(PEMC) and the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines, Inc. (IEMOP) “is void ab initio.”
Nograles stressed that PEMC’s claimed transition from being a Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC) to a fully privatized company which would have allowed the transfer of its assets to IEMOP “was not proper and not legally-binding because this was not approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.”
“May proseso ang privatization at ayon sa Governance Commission on GOCCs na sumasailalim sa Opisina ng Pangulo, hindi dumaan sa tamang proseso ang PEMC. The committee hearing proves usurpation of the power of the President,” said Nograles.
During the energy panel’s meeting, the Governance Commission of GOCCs confirmed what Nograles said that for PEMC needs to go through a process in order to become a private entity, in accordance with Republic Act no. 101149.
To become a private entity, Nograles said PEMC must seek the endorsement of the Governance Commission for Government Owned or Controlled Corporation (GCG) to the President of the Republic who will then make the final approval.
Nograles said “PEMC has neither the recommendation of the GCG nor the approval of the President which makes the PEMC-IEMOP contract void from the very beginning. “
Nograles maintained his stance that President Rodrigo Duterte “was blindsided that something this massive happened.”
“If the president knew that this is going to happen, he would have affixed his signature to privatize PEMC. PEMC was never privatized. The President does not know that this happened,” said Nograles.
Nograles said that during the last two hearings of the energy committee, it has already established that the PEMC-IEMOP contract was illegal and highly anomalous but it has yet to pinpoint the hand behind this deal.
He stressed tha Congress “has enough evidence and information to declare the contract void ab initio. As to who are the persons behind this illegal contract is something we have yet to establish and I intend to pursue this to the end,” said Nograles.
Nograles noted that PEMC deal which allowed the P7,000-company IEMOP to take over and use its P781-million computer equipment for free and automatically deduct at least 0.84 centavos for every kilowatt/hour from electricity consumers is anomalous and could be the basis of filing multiple cases against its officials.
Nograles said that the transfer of assets may also be a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) because as a GOCC, PEMC is not allowed by law to transfer assets to a private corporation like IEMOP.