Aquino won’t force Ducut to leave ERC

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Friday, January 24, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- President Benigno Aquino III will not force Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief Zenaida Ducut to vacate her post.

This was disclosed Friday by Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., who said in a statement to Sun.Star Pampanga that the Kapampangan ERC head "is not required to leave her post even after a complaint was filed against her last Thursday by Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez before the Office of the President."

"It is Ducut's discretion if she will take a leave or resign from her post," he said.

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"We have to follow a certain due process. Ducut has a right to answer all the complaints and allegations filed against her," Coloma noted in the statement.

"But if proven guilty on the allegations, there is a chance that Ducut will be suspended," added Coloma.

It can be recalled that the basis of Bello and Gutierrez in the complaint is the alleged "gross neglect of duty" by Ducut.

In the complaint, Bello cited that "Ducut was incompetent in protecting the interest of the consumers, allowing Meralco in its planned power rate hike."

He added that the ERC chief also "committed gross neglect of duty as to Meralco’s power supply agreements with the generation companies even though these firms did not provide for replacement power in the event of scheduled or forced outages of their power plants."

"Her failure is stupefying considering that the increase in Meralco’s generation charge for the month of November 2013 was the largest under the regulatory regime implemented by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) and administered by the ERC. It was incumbent upon Ducut being the head of the ERC to have conducted an immediate investigation into the matter,” the legislator claimed.

Both lawmakers also assailed Ducut for being allegedly a "pork agent" of a reported syndicate using the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

It was also last Thursday when House Speaker Sonny Belmonte reacted on the complaint of the partylist group.

"If I were Ducut, I will resign from my post", said Belmonte.

Ducut was representative of Pampanga’s second district from 1995 to 2004 prior to her appointment as ERC chief in 2008 by then President and now Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (Kristine Venet Q. Andal)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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