WITH the imminent decimation of the membership of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) en banc on Monday because of the implementation of the Ombudsman’s suspension order against four ERC commissioners, Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has suggested timely and relevant solutions.
“As Member of the House Committee on Energy, may I suggest to President Rodrigo Duterte’s closest advisers to apply Sections 16 and 17 of Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code of 1987,” said Herrera-Dy.
Sections 16 and 17 of Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code of 1987 allow for temporary appointments lasting up to one year.
“Noting that two of the commissioners are retiring anyway on Tuesday, then permanent replacements can be immediately appointed by the President on Tuesday or Wednesday. This will ensure quorum,” said Herrera-Dy.
To make sure the ERC is complete, two temporary appointments would be needed.
“We cannot have a depleted ERC at this crucial time of high fuel prices, foreign currency adjustments, and elevated inflation. We need all hands on deck at the ERC to decide on pending and future cases brought to it for rulings as the quasi-judicial authority implementing the EPIRA Law,” she said.
The EPIRA Law, which includes the revised charter of the ERC (Chapter IV), does not provide for appointments in case of temporary vacancy, in which case, it is the Administrative Code that would apply.
Moreover, I would suggest the appointment of two commissioners coming from the ranks of consumers and two career officials coming from within the ERC who are unblemished by corruption or any conspiracy issues. They could also be borrowed from other energy agencies or from the University of the Philippines on secondment.