Two temporary ERC Commissioners need to be quickly appointed
To address the immediate matters of quorum and continuity of operations at the ERC, I urge President Duterte to urgently issue two temporary appointments for the two temporarily vacant positions of ERC Commissioner.
The Ombudsman suspended four ERC Commissioners, but for a quorum of the ERC en banc, two temporary Commissioners are needed. The other two may be appointed several weeks later.
The temporary appointees ought to possess the qualifications similar to those of ERC commissioner as stated in the EPIRA Law (RA 9136). Related to this is another factor to consider are the terms of the appointment of the suspended ERC commissioners.
If one or some of them have terms expiring within the one-year suspension from the Ombudsman, then it would save the government a lot of trouble or hassle later on if one or some of the temporary appointees could be given permanent appointments effective the day after the expiration dates.
May I suggest further that two of the temporary appointees be chosen from among the ranking career civil servants of the ERC who have no pending Ombudsman or court cases involving corruption, and that the two other temporary appointees may be borrowed either from other energy agencies or from the University of the Philippines on secondment.
The President can invoke Sections 16 and 17 of Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code of 1987 to address the temporary vacancies in the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) because of the suspension of four of its commissioners.
Sections 16 and 17 of Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code of 1987 allow for temporary appointments lasting up to one year.
The EPIRA Law, which includes the revised charter of the ERC (Chapter IV), does not provide for appointments in case of temporary vacancy, in which case, it is the Administrative Code that would apply. (END)
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