Palace says it respects the views of Osmena
MANILA (1st UPDATE) - The chair of the Senate energy committee expressed his dissatisfaction over the performance of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, revealing that he has long asked President Aquino to fire him.
Speaking to reporters, Senator Serge Osmeña said that while Petilla is “very intelligent,” the secretary, he said, is being distracted by “politics” and has failed to come up with a long-term plan to deal with the power shortage.
He prefers to see a “full-time secretary” who will be dedicated in mapping out a long-term strategy to address the country’s power needs.
“Petilla himself is very intelligent, very well-trained fellow. But his focus is politics. So he says, ‘I’m not gonna be here long.' I want somebody to sit there who’ll say, ‘I'm going to be here long and I’m just going to focus on improving and managing this well,’” Osmeña said.
Following the announcement of a power shortage last year, Osmeña was disappointed that Petilla had sent an undersecretary who was not in the know to a meeting that the senator called to discuss the power situation.
Osmeña said he understood that Petilla had to be in Leyte at that time to help restore power.
“The undersecretary he sent here was only appointed two months before, bata niya na taga-Leyte and didn't know anything about power but he was the one sent to speak on behalf of the Department of Energy. We got one of the biggest headaches in a long time and he sends somebody who didn’t anything about power. So what does that tell you about the way things are being managed?” he said.
President Aquino did not heed Osmena’s call to fire Petilla.
“I told the president to fire him already two months ago. Because he is not focused,” he said.
Asked how the President replied, Osmeña said, “First he asked for a meeting and he made indian (the meeting did not push through).”
'AN AWFUL MANAGER'
Osmeña then went on to criticize President Aquino’s management style.
“That’s alright. The thing is that’s the way he solves things. He would stay with the people that he appointed. Like I said, managing is not an easy profession. He’s a very poor manager we know that. He’s a good man, he’s an honest man, but he’s an awful manager,” he said.
Asked if he was referring to Petilla or the President, Osmeña said, “Both of them. We will not be having this type of problems now if they were good managers.”
Osmeña was Aquino’s campaign manager during the 2010 elections but said that he has refrained from giving the President unsolicited advice since he assumed office.
“I do not call him just to give a suggestion. If he calls me, fine. Kasi alam ko naman ang attitude nila sa Malacañang e, ‘Kuning kuning kuning, kayo ang boss ko,’ pero hindi ganoon e.”
Despite the sharp rebuke that he just made against Aquino, Osmeña said he does regret helping the President during the campaign.
He stressed that he still wants the administration to succeed but noted that the President could be “hard-headed” sometimes.
“I felt he was the best candidate at that time. Even now, I want him to do well, I want him to do better. But sometimes, he’s so hard-headed. You know naman how hard-headed he can be, so what can we do? Tigas ng ulo e,” he said.
He warned that President Aquino would lose his “endorsement power” in the 2016 elections if he anoints a preferred successor who is incompetent at work.
"He will lose much of that if the people see, ‘Yeah, we appreciate what you did, your honesty inspired many people and brought in many investments.’ But it all depends who he endorses… ‘Pag yung inindorso niya ‘yung teka-teka gaya nitong DOTC tsaka DOE, di magiging teka-teka party [sila],” he said.
Osmeña also said that the Energy Regulatory Commission is “poorly managed” and called on the Palace to fill a vacancy in the commission with an expert on either energy, computers, or economics.