HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez ordered the House Committee on Energy and other related committees to study the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). In an interview, Alvarez said he has advised the energy committee to look into the allegations of corruption in the commission, which was said to have led to the suicide of a director.
ERC Director Francisco Jose Villa Jr. committed suicide and based on his suicide note, he took his own life because he could no longer stomach the corruption in the agency.
“Pinag-aaralan na namin ‘yung gustong mangyari ni President Duterte. I already advised the Committee on Energy para tingnan ‘yung proposed abolition. Kung paano i-address ang problema sa ERC,” Alvarez said.
Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has already filed a resolution calling for the investigation into the issue involving ERC.
Responding quickly, chairman of the committee Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco said the committee will conduct a separate inquiry into the corruption issue.
“In our previous briefing at the committee, the matter of anomalies in the ERC was already raised and the committee has decided to conduct a separate hearing dedicated to investigating said allegations of corruption and irregularities in the ERC,” Velasco said.
In his suicide note, Villa said as Bids and Awards Committee chair he witnessed the rigged selection system for contracts in the ERC under the helm of chairman and CEO Jose Vicente Salazar.
According to Velasco, the investigation will guide the lawmakers on what laws should be crafted and to consider amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) that created the ERC.