by Myrna Velasco, 06 July 2015
from Manila Bulletin
For the first time, resigned Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla has categorically sounded off why the bid of Commissioner Josefina Patricia M. Asirit as chairperson of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) could be clouded with “perception problems.”
In a rather thinly-veiled swipe at Asirit’s ERC bid, Petilla noted that her biggest dilemma will always arise from that fact that she is related to Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.
The former energy chief said: “she (Asirit) is very qualified…and integrity-wise, she has that. Her only problem is, she would always be linked to her uncle (Almendras) when it comes to getting that appointment.”
The resigned energy chief has acknowledged that two sitting Commissioners are actually being considered for the top post at the regulatory body – the other one being Commissioner Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc.
But Petilla said Yap-Taruc is cautious and apprehensive about her name being floated because of the legal questions being raised also on the re-appointment of sitting Commissioners.
For the next ERC chairperson, Petilla stressed that “what is important is having someone with solid integrity and know-how of the industry’s intricacies.”
He emphasized that appointing an individual who has yet to start studying the issues and concerns of the electricity sector might not be a beneficial move because it could disrupt some much-needed regulatory actions and formulations at the Commission.
“For me, know-how of the industry could be secondary, but that person must have the brains to swiftly absorb and understand issues…just don’t put someone there who is coming from nowhere,” Petilla said.
He added “there are a lot of controversies hounding the ERC now…it cannot afford having a chairman or a Commissioner not knowing yet what the industry’s current problems are, that’s my take.”
The ERC will need to have its new ERC chairperson appointment this month following the retirement of Zenaida Cruz-Ducut after seven years of service.