The real speaker

Published July 9, 2019, 12:16 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Floro L. Mercene
Floro L. Mercene

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco continues to drum up publicity for his speakership bid by claiming to have sponsored, coordinated, or organized many events  for President Duterte.

The neophyte Velasco has resorted to portraying himself as a close “friend” of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

Velasco has one thing going for him  to bag the speakership. His wife Wen is closely associated with  billionaire businessman Ramon Ang, president and CEO of corporate giant San Miguel Corporation.

Ang’s proposed Bulacan Airport had to undergo a Swiss challenge.  ,  SMC’s South Premiere Power Corp.  (SPPC), the administrator of the  Iligan Power Plant in Batangas, is contesting the  claim by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. that it still owes some P19.75 billion to the state-owned firm.

SPPC has the largest unpaid obligation pending with PSALM, the overdue account representing a third of the P59.2 billion that independent power producer administrators (IPPAs) and electric cooperatives combined owe PSALM.

Ang claims that SMC has already paid about P290 billion in various fees as of end-April to PSALM. He has taken the issue to court, accusing PSALM of “willful breach of contract.”

PSALM, however, won’t budge from its position that South Premiere owes it P19.65 billion in unpaid dues. SPPC’s default and breach of contractual obligations, particularly the underpayment of amount due to government was a subject of the Commission on Audit’s adverse findings that also prompted PSALM to terminate the agreement.

Ang needs strong political connections to protect SPPC and his other business interests.  He is funding the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

In the 17th Congress, Velasco was the chairman of the House Committee on energy in the 17th Congress.  Ang could exert influence on the chamber and its 300 or so members if Velasco is chosen speaker.