MANILA, Philippines - Former Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras on Monday bid farewell to his employees in a turnover ceremony led by newly installed Secretary Jericho Petilla.
Almendras is now secretary to the Cabinet, a position which reportedly pits him with Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa.
In an interview after the event, Almendras categorically downplayed insinuations that he is encroaching or overlapping the powers of the Executive Secretary.
"People will try to put something between the ES and me, I have no issues with him, I follow his lead because he is the Executive Secretary," says Almendras.
Meanwhile, Petilla says the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, the entity which absorbs NAPOCOR's debts and power plants, will give back the overcharged amount on line rental paid by distribution utilities like Meralco.
Meralco estimated the double charged line rental costs at nearly P10 billion. Other electric cooperativess have been overcharged as well.
"If indeed there's overcharging, I don't think there's any reason why PSALM will not give it back... I may be jumping the gun here, since my increase naman, baka pwedeng i-offset na lang doon. Basta ang prinsipyo e, kung may utang dapat bayaran," says Petilla.
Petilla says he has already met with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima who chairs PSALM and they are working on a scheme which will be divulged soon.