By Myrna M. Velasco – July 15, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
It will be a tough competition for those eyeing the commissioner posts at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as 17 candidates are reportedly in the “shortlist” of Malacañang as of last week.
As of this writing, a highly placed source indicated that new appointments at the Commission are targeted to be released “on or before the end of this month,” although it was noted that the current shortlist may still expand.
The two new Commissioners will be taking the slots vacated by former Commissioners Alfredo J. Non and Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc who retired just last week (July 10).
The two ERC officials unfortunately bowed out from office with a controversy on a three-month suspension order purportedly inflicting penalty on previous Commission decisions on the commingling of bill deposits of power utility giant Manila Electric Company.
It has been widely talked about in the power industry that Davao-based lawyer Alexis Lumbatan is one of the ERC post contenders; while the second slot has been reportedly “committed” to a business group that had been a major supporter to President Duterte’s campaign.
“Most of the ERC candidates are lawyers,” according to a Palace source; and the industry’s guess is for the Commission to be filled again with appointments coming from the legal field.
On the recent retirements of Non and Yap-Taruc, ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera noted that she was saddened by that development as she considers these two officials source of “invaluable wisdom and insights” especially when she started her stint at the regulatory body last year.
The ERC chief added “my transition period could not have been manageable without their help.” Non and Yap-Taruc served the ERC for seven years – through all the controversies, legal suits and very few instances of appreciated work and outcomes.
To Devanadera, the two former Commissioners “served the ERC well and their dedication and diligence is without question,” noting further that their contribution to the ERC in terms of pro-consumer policies and decisions “will make its mark and should be emulated and carried on.”
In the coming weeks or months, it is also worth following up if the Commission will have another vacancy – with the reported resignation plan of one of its sitting Commissioners.
When that happens, it will only be Commissioner Josefina Patricia B. Asirit who will be staying put – among all the previous administration’s appointees, as Devanadera herself has already been designated to the ERC under the Duterte regime.