Four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission have defied the order of ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar on certain appointments in the office while he was on leave.
The commissioners have elevated their concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte through a memorandum, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.
Commissioners Geronimo Sta. Ana, Alfredo Non, Josefina Asirit and Gloria Taruc signed a resolution on April 19 objecting to Salazar’s directives.
The resolution cited a series of issuances concerning the reorganization, designation and reassignment of office personnel in the ERC.
Salazar assigned Ronaldo Gomez, chief of the Mindanao Field Office, as officer-in-charge-executive director of the ERC on March 20.
The four commissioners objected to the designation of Gomez in an executive session, citing among others, Salazar’s lack of authority to make the appointment.
Salazar, however, invoked his power to appoint and assign people, saying it was his sole prerogative being the chief executive officer of the ERC. He issued another directive reconstituting the composition of the power supply agreement technical working group.
An office order was also issued reassigning and designating key personnel to managerial positions involving critical operational services of the ERC.
The commissioners, in their memorandum to Salazar, said the reassignments were “contrary to the provisions of applicable laws and established precedents.”
The commissioners said they also had the power to appoint ERC staff.
The commissioners questioned the delegation of Gomez as OIC executive director to sign on behalf of the chairman.
The resolution said the contrasting views caused confusion within the ERC and reached the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The commissioners had learned that Malacañang appointed Sta. Ana as OIC during Salazar’s leave of absence.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has already asked Malacañang to step in to protect the public interest in the wake of the internal squabble at the ERC.
“Malacanang should already closely look into this and pursue the issue more in-depth,” Gatchalian said.