ERC chair returns to work despite Duterte's call to resign

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2017 11:49 PM

Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar continues to defy President Rodrigo Duterte's call for him to resign. 

Salazar went back to work at the agency this month after going on leave in December. Salazar also resumed his duty as head of the ERC.

Duterte called on Salazar and other ERC officials to resign last year after ERC Director Francisco Villa Jr. committed suicide citing pressure from other ERC officials to approve allegedly corrupt deals. 

Villa specifically named Salazar in the alleged rigging of the selection process for an audio visual presentation project to favor a certain Luis Morelos.

Salazar has denied any wrongdoing and said that there was no contract yet with Morelos. Salazar added that the deal to produce infomercials and campaign materials with Morelos was still in the inception stage.

ABS-CBN News, however, has obtained documents that appear to support allegations of corruption in the ERC.

A source from the ERC sent ABS-CBN News copy of a contract showing that Morelos and the ERC already had deal in December 2015.

The contract, which would last until June 2016, authorized payment of 50,000 pesos per month to Morelos.

A separate document indicated that the contract was cancelled on January 2016, but the "date received" stamped on the document said December 2016, or eleven months after the cancellation order.

It was also odd that the contract, which was supposedly cancelled in January 2016, was still notarized in February 2016.

ABS-CBN News has sought Salazar's side on the matter, but his office did not issue any statement. 

Salazar, meanwhile, has denied threatening other commissioners who arranged an internal investigation while he was on leave last December. 

A statement from the ERC said that the commissioners have been honest and open about their concerns, including their submission to investigations by Congress, the Commission on Audit, and the NBI. --With a report from Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News