Friday, August 06, 2021

Palace suspends ERC chair for 'insubordination'

MALACAÑANG has suspended for four months Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) chairman and chief executive officer Jose Vicente Salazar for defying its order assigning an officer-in-charge in his absence.

Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said the Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea decided Wednesday, August 2, to suspend Salazar after he defied the Malacañang's order.

"On ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar, the Office of the Executive Secretary, in his decision dated August 2, 2017, finds Energy Regulatory Commission chairman and CEO Jose Vicente Salazar guilty of insubordination," Banaag said in a press conference Thursday, August 3.

"Thus, Mr. Salazar is meted out the penalty of suspension for a period of four months without pay," he added.

In May, Malacañang placed Salazar under three-month preventive suspension amid pending administrative charges against him.

The document, which was signed by Medialdea on May 2, revealed that Salazar is facing "serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct," on account of violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Banaag said the new suspension order has been imposed on Salazar after he designated Ronaldo Gomez as ERC's OIC executive director even after Palace assigned Commissioner Geronimo Sta. Ana as OIC during his absence.

"There was a time the Office of the Executive Secretary endorsed or appointed OIC, Mr. Sta. Ana. And then after that, Commissioner Salazar appointed Atty. Gomez for his leave of absence. So this is the insubordination part," she said.

"So the Office of the President has jurisdiction over Salazar and for his disobedience for insubordination, for not obeying the appointment, the previous appointment released or given by the Office of the Executive Secretary to OIC Sta. Ana [and] for appointing another person as OIC," she added.

Banaag said other administrative charges were filed against Salazar but details are not available yet as those are still under investigation. (SunStar Philippines)
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