Duterte orders ERC officials to resign but executives staying on
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered all officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission to resign but the executives said they will hang on to their posts until they present their side to him.
Duterte, who faced reporters in Lima where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, gave the order after he said he got reports of graft allegations in the agency after an official committed suicide last November 9.
“All of them, they have to the resign,” Duterte said over ANC. “They have spoiled the image of the agency.”
ERC bidding chairman Francisco Villa Jr. claimed in his suicide letters he was pressed by his superiors to approve anomalous deals.
Duterte said he will ask Congress to withhold the budget of ERC or disband the agency. .
ERC chairman and chief executive officer Jose Vicente Salazar said he would ask for a meeting with Duterte.
"I am now waiting for the President's return and will immediately seek out a meeting with him to give him a fuller picture of the current developments at the ERC," Salazar said in a statement.
Salazar expressed confidence that meeting with Duterte would result in "clearer directions" from him regarding the issues hounding the ERC.
Ina Asirit, Gloria Taruc and Alfredo Non, the ERC’s three commissioners, said in a televised press conference they will not resign. “We are one in the decision to stay in the post. Resignation would not be to the best interest of the ERC,” the commissioners said,.
Non said they face a "no-win situation," where they would look "guilty" if they quit, and be seen as hanging on to their posts if they do not follow Duterte’s order.
Salazar assured Duterte he has the "highest respect" for the president's recent statement as he vowed to take the "appropriate actions" that would protect the organization.
He said he requested the Commission on Audit to investigate Villa's allegations.
The official also expressed support and full cooperation for the planned inquiry by the Senate committee on energy. Celerina Monte/DMS.