Akbayan slams Kapampangan ERC chief

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Kapampangan Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chief Zenaida Ducut was slammed by Akbayan for her motion of extension of time to respond to the charges filed against her.

Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez said Ducut "seems to imply that she is using public resources for her personal defense."

"Chairperson Ducut is in effect arguing that she needs more time to submit her personal defense in the administrative case filed against her before the Office of the President because the ERC is also currently preparing its answer in the Supreme Court. This implies a disturbing fusion between the ERC case, which is against the agency as a public government entity, and Ducut’s case, which is against her in her personal capacity. Chair Ducut is definitely not the ERC, and the two cases should be handled separately," said Gutierrez.

"While we understand that as head of the ERC, Ducut needs to ensure that the agency complies appropriately with the orders of the High Court, she cannot use this as a justification to delay her response to a case personally filed against her," Gutierrez added.

The two lawmakers said Ducut "impliedly admitted that she is exploiting public funds and using time that should be dedicated for answering the administrative case filed against her."

They also said Ducut should use her personal resources and not the resources of the agency she heads.

Bello also stressed out that Ducut is employing delaying tactics to drag out the administrative proceedings before the Office of the President.

"At this point, she is pinned to a corner without a substantial argument to counter solid accusations of gross negligence. Ducut is reaching deep into her pocket of tricks, with nothing to show but a lame request for time extension. Maliwanag na dumudukot na lamang ng palusot si Ducut," Bello added.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez is asking Malacanang to deny Ducut's motion.

"In our view, the Office of the President should deny her motion. If Ducut has nothing to concretely offer to defend herself from the serious accusations thrown against her, then we call on the Office of the President to immediately begin her process of termination from the ERC," said Gutierrez.

It can be recalled that last January 23 the two Akbayan representatives filed a case against Ducut before the Office of the President for alleged "gross neglect of duty and failure to protect the power consumers" that led to massive increases in the power rate of Meralco.
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