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House probe on ERC exec’s suicide sought

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 288

HOUSE Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy yesterday called for a congressional inquiry into the circumstances that compelled Energy Regulatory Commission Director Francisco Jose Villa Jr. to commit suicide two weeks ago.

Herrera-Dy also urged President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to suspend key ERC officials, particularly those who were implicated by Villa in his suicide notes, pending the results of the criminal investigation of the incident.
   
The House leader said she will file today a resolution asking the appropriate House committees to conduct a congressional investigation, particularly reports that Villa’s suicide was triggered by alleged shady deals and preferential distribution of utilities that had implicated key ERC officials.
   
“Director Villa’s death has serious and far reaching implications on many ERC deals, including power supply negotiations.  He even sacrificed his own life to expose these corrupt activities, we cannot ignore it,” she stressed.
   
Herrera-Dy noted that various consumers protection groups have all batted for investigation into the web of corruption behind the ERC deals, adding that Villa’s death had opened a can of worms that could lead probers in uncovering the reasons for the unfair and unconscionable ERC contracts.
   
“These highly questionable deals could have included power deals,” she said.
   
It was reported that Villa, 54, succumbed to pressures from bosses who wanted him to rig the results of public biddings for rich ERC contracts.
   
Villa headed the ERC bids and awards committee and was also one of the top legal advisers of the firm when it came to energy supply issues.
   
In one of the alleged suicide notes, Villa reportedly named ERC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose Vicente B. Salazar as among those who pressured him to commit irregularities as BAC chief.
   
“My greatest fear in the bids and awards committee is the AVP by Luis Morelos which the chairman and CEO, Jose Vicente B. Salazar, chose through a rigged selection system. That will be a criminal act,” Villa said in one of the suicide notes he reportedly wrote three months prior to his suicide.
   
Villa’s sister, broadcast journalist Charie Villa admitted that the ERC official was pressured to approve contracts for procurement and hiring consultants without proper bidding and procedure as bids and awards committee chairman.