Gatchalian to Cusi, Matibag: Be respectful to the Senate

Published October 23, 2021, 9:17 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Friday, Oct. 22 advised officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies to be respectful to the Senate as an institution during its hearings or investigations.

The advice of Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee was contained in a letter sent to DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi that respect should be given to the committee, all the senators, guests, resource persons and the Senate as an institution.

Any form of disrespect and unacceptable statements would not be countenanced by the committee, he added.

Because of an incident at the committee, Gatchalian said he would only allow National Transmission Corporation (Transco) president Melvin Matibag to attend his committee hearing when he has learned to be professional in his personal conduct.

This was during a hearing of the budget of the DOE and its attached agencies when Matibag suddenly spoke and angrily accused presidential aspirant Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao of politicking when he attacked Cusi of corruption.

The Cusi wing claimed that the Gatchalian committee was used to spread a personal political agenda.

During the heareing other day, Pacquiao stated that there is corruption at the DOE.

He slammed Cusi because of DOE’s questionable award to 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 of 2001 (EPIRA) as an independent market operator.

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

Because of his outburst, Matibag was kicked out from the hearing by Gatchalian.

Matibag is a ranking official of the Cusi wing of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party while Pacquiao is the president of his separate wing in the PDP-Laban party.

Cusi assured Gatchalian that the DOE follows the law and its mandates.

Matibag told Gatchalian that it was not his intention to be disrespectful to the committee and the Senate as an institution.

What he was against was the abuse by Pacquiao of his legislative privilege, Matibag said.