Palace welcomes CA halt order on ERC execs’ suspension

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2018 04:01 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2018 01:52 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the Court of Appeals' grant of a temporary restraining order stopping the suspension of four Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the ERC would have been seriously paralyzed and the economy would have suffered grave damage if their suspension was enforced. 

“The Office of the President therefore lauds the grant of injunctive relief as a step in the right direction,” Roque said in a statement.

The Ombudsman last December suspended ERC Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta. Ana for allegedly excluding the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and other firms from a competitive selection process (CSP) meant to “elicit the best price” for consumers.

The Ombudsman had found the officials administratively liable for "conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service aggravated by simple misconduct and simple neglect of duty."

Malacañang had already told ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera in January to implement the suspension order.

Devanadera, who assumed the post in November, earlier said the suspension of the 4 officials could lead to massive blackouts in different parts of the country as it would be impossible for the commission to hold meetings as a collegial body to resolve pending cases.

Around P1.58 trillion worth of projects and applications remain pending, and failure to act on these would "paralyze" the ERC and the power sector, she earlier said.