Palace suspends ERC chair Salazar

August 3, 2017 - 1:32 PM
ERC chairman Vicente Salazar (Philstar file)

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has suspended Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Jose Vicente Salazar for insubordination.

The August 2 order signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea suspended Salazar for four months without pay.

The insubordination case stems from Salazar’s issuing an order on April 7 naming lawyer Ronaldo Gomez, the acting ERC executive director, as signing authority while he went on leave despite the designation of Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana as officer-in-charge of the agency by Medialdea’s office.

The administrative case was initiated motu proprio by the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Aside from the insubordination charge, Salazar is also facing other complaints but Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag declined to discuss these saying these had yet to be thoroughly investigated.

But suspension order mentioned, among others, alleged anomalies in the ERC’s procurement process, a reorganization at the agency “against the structure approved by the Department of Budget and Management,” appointments of officers and personnel “without complying with the prescribed qualification standards,” and “threatening” ERC commissioners and other personnel over ongoing investigations.

It also cited a March 15 complaint-affidavit by ERC employees accusing Salazar of unilaterally renewing electric power purchase agreements with a number of distribution utilities.

Excerpt from the order suspending ERC chairman Vicente Salazar (Maricel Halili, News5)