DOE refutes Pacquiao’s corruption allegations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2021   •   522

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday (July 7) refuted Senator Manny Pacquiao’s corruption allegations, saying the senator lacked research on the issue.

Pacquiao claimed that the energy department awarded the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) a contract without going through any bidding process.

“Mula sa P7,000 paid-up capital ay naging instant billion-peso company ang IEMOP sa loob lamang po ng isang taon,” according to Pacquiao.

(From a P7,000 paid-up capital, the IEMOP instantly became a billion-peso company in just one year.)

During a public briefing on Wednesday, DOE Asec. Gerardo Erguiza Jr. denied these claims and stated that the senator lacked research regarding the issue.

“Medyo ill-advised po yata dito si Sen. Pacquiao at kulang ng research no, dahil wala pong ganoon na pangyayari dito,” he said.

(Senator Pacquiao must have been ill-advised and lacked research because no such thing has happened here.)

Erguiza said that there was no need to go through any bidding process and that the IEMOP is under the mandate of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). He reiterated that the DOE is not involved in the operations of the IEMOP.

“Hindi naman involved ang DOE sa pagpapatakbo ng independent market operator. Pagdating sa operations, wala hong pakialam ang Department of Energy diyan,” he said.

(The DOE is not involved in the business of the independent market operator. The DOE has nothing to do with the operations.)

However, the DOE official said they are prepared to face any hearing and are willing to provide documents regarding any investigation on the alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee would need basis and evidence regarding Pacquiao’s allegations before conducting any hearing. Gordon said they have not received requests or any documents from Pacquiao.

“Investigation of corruption cases must proceed but my committee cannot investigate based merely on newspaper accounts. I have neither received any request nor has any Resolution been filed regarding Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegations. Moreover, no documents have been shared with us,” he said in a statement.

“The Blue Ribbon must know what it will be specifically investigating. It cannot go willy-nilly into any battlefield without knowledge of the what, the who, the how, the when, and the damage it caused the government. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the specificity of the allegations,” he added.

However, Gordon said he has instructed the Blue Ribbon staff, as well as his own office staff, to get in touch with the authorities to find out any basis regarding the issues and will immediately act accordingly. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Pacquiao, Cusi face off in Senate; Gatchalian ousts Matibag from budget hearing

Maris Federez   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on the budget of the Department of Energy on Thursday went sour as Senator Manny Pacquiao took the floor to question DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Pacquiao and Cusi are members of two opposing factions of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

In the committee hearing, Pacquiao asked Cusi about the alleged “tongpats” or markup in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The lawmaker also questioned why the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEM-C) remains as a market operator despite the existence of the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP).

“Nakita natin kung paano sinindikato ang mga nasa kapangyarihan ang EPIRA law. Kung yung trabahong para sa isa ay ginawang dalawa kaya doble doble ang bayarin ng mga consumers,” Pacquiao said.

Cusi then explained that PEM-C still manages IEMOP which was created in 2018 as part of the transition stage.

The DOE official also denied the alleged corruption and insisted that they abide by the regulations set by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

“Wala pong corruption. Bakit po ang capitalization ng IEMOP is only 7,000? Kasi nga non-profit, non-stock corporation […] Wala pong kinikita yan,” Cusi said.

“Ito pong sinasabing accusation na ganyan, masakit din po ano. And I hope it can be done outside the walls of Senate at kung may kailangan ikaso, ikaso,” he added.

Pacquiao also questioned the alleged relationship between Attorney Matibag who is the president and CEO of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) and PEM-C, which Matibag himself answered.

“If Sen. Pacquiao only read the EPIRA Law, buo ang kwento nito eh. TRANSCO noon ang operator muna, bago nag PEM-C […] Wala na TransCo diyan. Alam niyo let’s call a spade a spade dito sa hearing na ‘to. This is all political, Sen. Pacquiao. Alam naman natin to, ito yung pinapasabi mo nung bago ka umalis eh. Na sinasabi mo meron kang pasabog,” Matibag said.

This resulted in a heated argument between Pacquiao and Matibag.

It was at this juncture that Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who chaired the committee stepped in and dismissed Matibag from the hearing.

“This is my committee and you have no right calling this hearing a political hearing. The senators are entitled to ask policy questions,” Gatchalian said.

“You’re out of order. You’re no longer recognized. We’ve given you a chance to answer the policy questions but instead, you insulted this committee by calling it a political hearing. Hindi naman fair ‘yon,” he added.

Pacquiao also slammed Matibag’s action.

“Bastos itong si Atty. Matibag eh. Sayang yung pagka-lawyer niya, eh parang walang pinag-aralan,” he said.

“Wag po kayong mainit, wag po kayo magagalit sa’kin katulad ng ginawa ni Atty. Matibag […] Nabastusan ako,” he continued.

Cusi, on the other hand, apologized on Matibag’s behalf.

“I have to apologize for the interaction if you were offended by Atty. Matibag. I have to make that apology considering that he comes from the DOE family, so my apologies,” he said.

The committee set another hearing for the budget of the other attached agencies of the DOE. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

DOE asks Congress to amend Oil Deregulation Law

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

The Department of Energy (DOE) has called on Congress to amend provisions in the Oil Deregulation Law to allow the government to address oil price hikes amid high global demand and tight supply.

In a letter addressed to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel Arroyo, the DOE asked Congress to amend the law “to provide a framework for the government to intervene in the sudden, prolonged oil price spikes, including the unbundling of the cost of petroleum retail products to determine their true and passed-on costs.”

Gatchalian chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, while Arroyo heads the counterpart panel in the House of Representatives.

The DOE cited several reasons for the prolonged oil price spike amid continuing rise in world market prices resulting from the sudden global increase in demand and an unanticipated lack of supply.

It said that the demand, which is estimated at 103.22 million barrels a day (as of October 16, 2021 vs. a supply of 100.32 million barrels/day) is attributed to the following:

  • the surge of economic activities due to the containment of COVID-19 as a result of measures adopted and implemented worldwide (i.e. mass vaccination, control of the Delta and other variants, Europe’s “no-lockdown” policy, and China’s economic boost). This led to a sudden demand in energy utilization, including the demand on oil products in the transportation sector like gasoline and diesel;

 

  • the stocking of petroleum products’ inventories as winter approaches to cover demand from October this year to March of next year, with stocking expected until February 2021;

 

  • slowed production due to the current global direction of sourcing energy from low-carbon emitting sources. This has limited the optimum level of production, causing the halt and event withdrawal of investments in the development and expansion of the fossil fuel industry;

 

  • International sanctions to oil-producing countries like Iran and Venezuela that stopped the drilling of oil companies and the buying of oil products from these countries;

 

  • Hurricane Ida a category 4 storm that hit the US gulf coast on August 29 had caused an estimated loss of US crude oil production by as much as 30 million barrels.

 

Before the pandemic, the latest recorded total worldwide supply was, more or less, 104 barrels a day.

To cope-up with the supply, the DOE said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) committed to increase the production and supply of crude oil by 400,000 barrels/day.

The OPEC will meet on November 4 to discuss and reassess the situation.

The DOE said the Philippines utilizes the equivalent of 425,000 barrels/day, which is around 0.4% of the world supply.

The department assured it has met with the oil industry stakeholders to ensure supply while the problem persists, and asked if discounts could be extended to the public, especially to the public transport sector.

“Supply was assured and some companies (e.g. Jetti, Seaoil, Shell, Phoenix, Unioil) agreed to extend discounts to the public transport industry on top of existing discounts currently given like vaccination and loyalty incentives,” it added.

The DOE said it required the unbundling of the cost of retail products to determine their true and passed-on cost.

It maintained that the unbundling of oil prices would result in greater market transparency by establishing the trends in the prices of oil and finished petroleum products.

This, in turn, would help ensure a level playing field within the oil industry, while upholding the best interests of consumers, the DOE said.

 

P3 dagdag-pasahe, hiling ng ilang transport groups dahil sa tumataas na presyo ng petrolyo

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Plano ngayon ng ilang transport group na maghain ng pormal na petisyon para sa hiling nilang dagdag-pasahe sa Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Ayon sa grupong Pasang Masda, tatlong piso sa unang tatlong kilometro ang hirit ng mga jeepney driver sa gitna na rin ng tumataas na presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo.

Kung maaaprubahan ay magiging P12 na ang minimum fare sa pampasaherong jeep mula sa kasalukuyang P9.

Tiniyak naman ni Obet Martin, ang pinuno ng grupong Pasang Masda, na agad nilang ibababa ang pamasahe kapag bumaba na rin ang halaga ng krudo.

“About 3 years ago or 4 years ago, nang bumaba ang presyo ng diesel na tig-29 pesos, immediately, kami rin ang grupo ay nagpunta ng LTFRB. Then, we filed our petition para i-rollback ang pamasahe. Nag-file kami at iyan din naman ang assurance natin sa ating mga kababayan. ‘Pag nag-normalize, ibabalik po natin doon sa dating pamasahe,” ani Martin.

Paliwanag ng Department of Energy (DOE), ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo sa bansa ay epekto ng paggalawa ng pandaigdigang presyo.

Ayon kay DOE-Oil Industry Management Bureau director Rino Abad, bunsod ito ng kakulangan sa supply at pagtaas ng demand sa langis dahil sa unti-unting pagbubukas ng ekonomiya at sa winter season sa ibang bansa.

“Itong nangyayaring pagkakakulangan ng ating crude oil supply on the global market ay ito’y inI-expect na aabot po ng hanggang katapusan ng taon at posible pong magkaroon na ng easing out, yung paghihinay-hinay ng kakulangan, on the first quarter of 2022,” ani Abad.

Sa panig naman ng LTFRB, sinabi ng executive director ng ahensiya na si Joel Bolano na pag-aaralan nila ang hiling ng mga tsuper na itaas ang pasahe upang maka-agapay sila sa kasalukuyang halaga ng petrolyo.

“Batay po doon sa mga increases ng atin pong petrolyo, based doon sa ating computation po kung babalikan po natin yung year-on-year na increase po ay at least mga 1.20 – hindi po lalagpas ng P1.26 more or less po,” ani Abad.

Payo naman ng DOE sa mga tsuper na magpakarga sa mga gasolinahan na nag-aalok ng promotions gaya ng discount at rebate na inilalaan dahil sa mataas na kumpetisyon.

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