THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) respects the approval of the House of Representatives of a P1,000 2018 budget for the agency. We understand that the issues weigh heavily on the agency and we share the sentiments of the esteemed congressmen as we strive to resolve the said controversies following the death of a beloved colleague, ERC Director and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Francisco Jose S. Villa Jr.

The Commissioners conducted an internal inquiry and have submitted a comprehensive report to the Office of the President (OP) last April 2017 detailing the irregularities ranging from failure to follow procurement procedures, concealment of documents and among others, unilaterally signing orders without commission deliberations and approval.

The report and an anonymous complaint from concerned ERC employees prompted the OP to further investigate the allegations leveled against ERC Chairman and CEO Jose Vicente B. Salazar.

Other government agencies have likewise conducted their respective investigations into the irregularities, and the commissioners as well as staff have cooperated with these agencies to arrive at an early resolution of these issues. At this time, Chairman Salazar is serving a penalty of suspension for one of the violations committed, i.e. Insubordination.

The four commissioners, during Chairman Salazar’s suspension, are striving to guide the agency to discharge its functions as normally as possible. However, Salazar’s infractions and their far-reaching effects continue to hound the agency, and these have not escaped the attention of Congress and the public in general, thus, the call for the Resolution of the said issues.

Normalcy in ERC’s operations have eluded the agency and the installation of a new leadership has become an imperative to fully restore ERC’s operations. The commissioners have previously appealed to the Office of the President for Salazar’s dismissal in view of the gravity of the numerous violations committed.

The entire ERC workforce is committed to ensure the delivery of its responsibility of providing efficient public service to the Filipino people with utmost integrity and professionalism.

We trust that our representatives will reconsider the agency’s budget for the welfare of the more than 300 ERC employees and, more importantly, the consuming public.

While a comprehensive report has been submitted to the Office of the President praying for the dismissal of Chairman Salazar, the commissioners are likewise of the belief that his resignation has become imperative and are calling upon him to do so especially in the light of the P1,000 2018 budget given to the agency.

-- Energy Regulatory Commission