MALACAÑANG on Wednesday, February 14, welcomed the Court of Appeals' decision to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the implementation of the one-year suspension of four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said it was an "extreme necessity" to allow the four ERC officials to go back to work, noting that the commission would have to bear "grave damage" if the suspension order against them remains in effect.
"Per the Office of the Executive Secretary, the temporary restraining order issued by the Court of Appeals is founded on extreme necessity," Roque said in a statement.
"The Energy Regulatory Commission would have been seriously paralyzed and the economy, particularly the energy sector, would have suffered grave damage had the TRO not been issued," he added.
The CA, in a February 9 decision, issued a 60-day TRO against the Ombudsman's ruling to suspend the commissioners for a period of one year.
The Ombudsman on December 11, 2017 ordered the suspension of ERC commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta. Ana.
The anti-graft body had found the four commissioners guilty of "conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, aggravated by simple misconduct and simple neglect of duty."
The Ombudsman had said there was sufficient ground that the ERC commissioners allowed electric utilities like Manila Electric Company or Meralco to forgo the bidding of their supply requirements at the public's expense.
The CA, however, recently overturned the Ombudsman's decision to avoid "serious and irreparable disruption" in the ERC's operation, as well as to prevent "adverse repercussions" on the power industry as a whole. (SunStar Philippines)