ERC officials to face graft raps for questionable travels

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2017 03:44 PM

MANILA- Some Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials are facing graft and other charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for junkets supposedly funded by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC).

ERC Officer-in-Charge Alfredo Non, ERC commissioners Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit, Geronimo Sta. Ana, and Director Debora Anastacia Layugan should be held liable for violating the the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, as well as indirect bribery and technical malversation, according to a complaint filed by Sanlakas secretary-general, lawyer Jose Aaron Pedrosa and Freedom From Debt Coalition secretary-heneral Samuel Gamboa.

Pedrosa said they received documents from sources who are privy to how the travels were funded by PEMC. 

"Respondents have been the recipients of various amounts from PEMC to cover their airline tickets, hotel accommodation, clothing allowance, and the like for their travels abroad," Sanlakas and the FDC said in their complaint. 

Among the travels questioned in the complaint was a training on utility regulation and strategy in Florida in 2013 with supposed PEMC funding worth P278,614.50. Another trip involved a meeting in Australia in 2014 worth P420,387.58. 

According to the complaint, the total funding from PEMC for Non was P3,516,520.45; for Taruc - P4,900,120.1; for Asirit - P741,921.8; and for Layugan P5,881,957.62. 

The complainants also alleged that Non, Asirit, Sta. Ana and Layugan received from "unidentified private regulated companies" for their allowances, hotel accommodation, taxi fare, airfare and other expenses. 

"There is no question that by receiving the money to fund their foreign trips, respondents are expected or have taken it upon themselves to help these regulated entities attain favorable or beneficial decisions from the ERC, in relation to the regulatory activities over these entities," the complainants said.