Akbayan files complaint vs ERC chief for 'gross neglect of duty'

Posted at 01/23/2014 12:56 PM | Updated as of 01/23/2014 2:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Party-list group Akbayan has formally filed a complaint before the Office of the President accusing Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Zenaida Ducut of gross neglect of duty.

Akbayan representatives Walden Bello and Barry Gutierrez filed the complaint on Thursday, citing Ducut’s “gross neglect of duty and incompetence by tacitly approving without the barest hint of due process Meralco’s unprecedented power rate hike.”

Gutierrez said the P4.15 per kilowatt hour hike was not an ordinary rate hike since it was the biggest that was implemented so far and the best that the ERC could have done was to investigate how the rates went up that high.

Gutierrez believes there was irregularity because the decision was made with undue haste, thus Ducut should be investigated as well.

Akbayan earlier said Ducut should be removed from office for her failure to protect power consumers in the high increase of power rates.

Lawmakers also criticized the ERC for the slow pace of the probe into the alleged collusion among power generators to undertake power plant shutdowns, which led to the spike in electricity rates.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said Ducut will be given due process and will be given a chance to answer Akbayan’s complaint.

"Meron naman pong itinakdang proseso, kabilang po sa prosesong ito ay 'yung pagtalima sa prinsipyo ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng karapatang sagutin ang mga paratang laban sa kanya," Communications Sec. Sonny Coloma said on Thursday.

The Palace won't ask Ducut to go on leave while the case is pending, saying there is no requirement for her to do so. -- With reports from Zen Hernandez and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News