Gatchalian backs Pacquiao: Issues raised by Promdi bet against Cusi are legitimate

Published October 23, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The issues raised by presidential aspirant Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao regarding the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IMEOP) are legitimate issues that might affect electricity prices, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Saturday October 23 said.

‘’The Energy Committee will look into this matter through a public hearing to make sure that consumer welfare is protected at all times,’’ Gatchalian, Senate Energy committee chairman, said.

‘’The hearing will provide all parties, including the DOE (Department of Energy), IMEOP, PEMC (Philippine Electricity Market Corporation) and even the senators, a venue to shed light on this government policy and resolve related issues,’’ he explained.

‘’I am confident that through a cordial, respectful, and open minded discussion, we will clarify numerous issues surrounding IMEOP and find solutions to further strengthen the energy sector,’’ he added.

During a recent Gatchalian committee hearing, Pacquiao lambasted DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi for allowing IMEOP, a three-month-old private corporation with a measly P7,000 ‘’contribution’’ paid by its seven incorporators, to take over the operation of the electricity spot market and fulfill the requirement of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) as an independent market operator.

This contract would allow the corporation to amass hundreds of millions of pesos, he claimed.

Because of his outburst questioning the timing of Pacquiao’s revelation during the committee hearing, National Transmission Corporation (Transco) Melvin Matibag was kicked out of the hearing.

Matibag said the committee was used by Pacquiao to spread his political agenda.

He belongs to the Cusi wing of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party. Pacquiao heads the other PDP-Laban faction.

After the hearing, Gatchalian advised officials of DOE and its attached agencies to be respectful to the Senate as an institution during its hearings and investigations.

Gatchalian’s advice was contained in a letter sent to Cusi that respect should be given to the committee, all the senators, guests, resource persons and the Senate as an institution.