LIMA – President Rodrigo Duterte demanded that all officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) resign from their posts as he would ask Congress to abolish the agency to pave the way for its total revamp.
Duterte issued this order following the suicide of Francisco Villa Jr., ERC chair of the bids and awards committee, over alleged corruption issues in the agency.
“I am demanding that they all (ERC officials) resign,” Duterte announced during a press conference at the conclusion of the 24th APEC Leaders’ Meeting here.
Duterte said he can no longer wait for his arrival in Auckland where he would be making a stopover before proceeding to the Philippines for the ERC officials and agency to know about his decision.
Duterte held a press conference around past 6 pm, Sunday Nov. 20, before heading back to Manila shortly before midnight.
His plane will make a short stopover in Auckland before proceeding to Manila. Duterte is scheduled to arrive at 11 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23, at the Davao International Airport.
According to Duterte, he has in possession of the intelligence/internal report but which content and people involved cannot yet be divulged.
“They must resign,” said Duterte, pissed.
But he said he has an option to file cases against all of the ERC officials or demand that no money will be appropriated for the agency since the budget hearing is still ongoing. “I can give them zero,” he said.
To reorganize ERC, Duterte said he will demand that Congress to disband the agency.
Meanwhile, thanked Duterte for his move and asked for the creation of a helpline that would cater to the needs of “harassed” government employees in their workplace.
“We, the family of Jun Villa, are deeply and profoundly humbled and so grateful for the attention of President Duterte to shed light over our tragic loss,” the family said.
Villa’s sister, journalist Charie Villa, said his brother wrote in the suicide notes how he was reportedly pressured to approve procurement contracts without proper bidding. (Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat & Martin A. Sadongdong)