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Palace lauds stay order on suspension of 4 ERC commissioners

Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the stay order issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) on the one-year suspension the Office of the Ombudsman meted on the four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of the Executive Secretary found the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the CA Ninth Division in favor of ERC commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana as an “extreme necessity.”

“The ERC would have been seriously paralyzed and the economy, particularly the energy sector, would have suffered grave damage had the [60-day] TRO not been issued,” Roque said.

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

The four ERC officials reported back to work on Monday.

ERC chair Agnes Devanadera said last month that power outages may hit parts of the country if the four commissioners would be simultaneously suspended for one  year.

The suspension order stemmed from the complaint filed by Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas Inc. accusing the ERC officials of favoring the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) after they extended the deadline for distribution companies to conduct a competitive selection process (CSP) for procuring power supply to April 30, 2016.

The Ombudsman said it found all the elements of graft against the respondents when they suspended the competitive selection process to accommodate Meralco's power supply agreements (PSA).

The ERC extended the CSP deadline from Nov. 6, 2015 to Apr. 30, 2016.

This led to the accommodation of Meralco's PSA where they then negotiated with seven of its sister power generation companies out of the total 38 firms who bid for the 4,500-megawatt production cap.

The Ombudsman said the ERC awarded 3,551 megawatts to Meralco alone. —GMA News