ERC to expedite anti-competition cases

by Myrna Velasco – June 19, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has split its top-level leadership into two core divisions to expedite hearing and resolution of anti-competition cases lodged before the regulatory body.

The two divisions will consist of Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar and two commissioners.

The first division shall consist of Commissioners Alfredo J. Non and Josefina Patricia M. Asirit; and the other will have Commissioners Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc and Geronimo D. Sta Ana.The ERC chair will be the presiding officer ex-officio in both divisions.

The ERC noted that there are 13 anti-competition cases pending at the Commission; and such shall be divided equitably between the two newly created divisions.

It has to be noted that the toughest cases lodged before the ERC had been the complaints filed against generation companies that allegedly committed anti-competitive behavior during the November-December tumultuous events of the power industry.

“The assignment of cases to a division will be through raffle, to be presided by a Commission staff who will be under the direct control and supervision of the Chairman,” a resolution from the ERC has stipulated.

The Commission further noted that “in the hearings of these anti-competition cases, the Chairman shall act as the presiding officer ex-officio.”

And in his absence,” the senior Commissioner in each division shall act as presiding officer; and in the latter’s absence, the junior Commissioner shall act as the substitute presiding officer.”

The ERC resolution expounded that “the Chairman and four Commissioners shall be notified of the hearings in all cases and be furnished with all pleadings that have been filed.”

Ultimately, it was emphasized that “all final orders, resolutions and decisions in these anti-competition cases shall be rendered by the Commission subject to the pertinent requirements under Section 38 of Republic Act 9136.”

RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) is the law that set forth the reforms in the country’s power industry through privatization of state-owned assets and deregulation of market systems.