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Labor group hits ERC verdict, recommends guillotine for ‘Dirty 13’ power price manipulators

June 3, 2015

QUEZON CITY – Big labor coalition group Nagkaisa criticized the “very late and toothless verdict” of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in coming out with a decision on a very high profile and important case of conniving to manipulate electricity spot market prices leading to a record high cost of electricity during the latter part of 2013 victimizing millions of consumers in Luzon area.

“How come it took the ERC commissioners almost two years to decide on a very important case? But then, now that they have their judgment, how come that the verdict is too weak – it’s as if no large scale thievery happened? How come the wheels of justice very, very slow on this case?” said Wilson Fortaleza, spokesman of the Partido Manggagawa-Nagkaisa (PM-Nagkaisa).

The ERC announced the other day they found the 13 power players liable for market abuse for withholding supply that led to a record high P4.15 per kilowatt hour.

“Respondents will be accorded with due process after which, ERC will decide on the imposition of penalties, if warranted, and grant of other reliefs,” the ERC decision said.

The Nagkaisa labor coalition rather recommended the highest form of punishment of guillotine to the so-called “Dirty 13” companies identified by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), AP Renewables, Pan-Asia, Therma Mobile Inc., Manila Electric Company (Meralco), 1590Bauang, CIP 2, TransAsia Power Gen, AP Renewables, Udenna Management Resources Corp., Strategic Power Development Corp., GNPower Mariveles, and SEM-Calaca Power Corp.

“Nagkaisa deemed that these irresponsible “Dirty 13” companies be brought to the bar of justice and be slapped with multiple and the highest criminal and administrative charges of the land for wittingly duping millions of Filipino consumers,” said Leody de Guzman, president of Bukluran ng Manggagawa-Nagkaisa.

The group is also insisting that the “Dirty 13” power players be made to return to consumers the excess payment involve including its accrued interests – estimated to be billions of pesos – along with the criminal and administrative charges.

“These people behind the collusion and manipulation of electricity prices are without any soul nor any sort of conscience. They were not there to do good business and offer public good. What they have is brute desire to steal hard-earned Filipino working people’s money bigtime and hope to get away with the hard cash quietly. They almost tried successfully but they were blind-sided by the stacks of money that they forgot to cover the imprints of their crime. Now that they are caught, they and their cohorts have to made to face the guillotine of the people and must be made to answer for the consequences of their high crime,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa).

In the light of this development, the group called on the Office for Competition Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately file charges to make these firms accountable for the high crime they committed against the Filipino people.

“The Philippine Justice department should already come right away and not wait for another almost two years in filing the charges. The DOJ must come in immediately and prosecute these high-flying criminals in behalf of the millions of irate households and make the public feel that their prosecutors in their DOJ are standing for them,” said Josua Mata of the Alliance of Progressive Labor-Nagkaisa (APL-Nagkaisa).