House panel head scored

March 03, 2020
Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Alan Peter S. Cayetano

SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano Monday night hit Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for his alleged failure to investigate the alleged P95.3 billion unpaid debts of power generators and electric cooperatives to state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), which could help President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte raise substantial funds for his pro-poor projects.

Cayetano said Velasco could have probed the issue being the chairman of the House Committee on Energy.

“I offered him (the position of) senior deputy speaker, I offered him  na every day kasama siya sa lahat, ayaw niya, gusto niya Energy (chairmanship),” Cayetano told reporters after emerging from a  six-hour caucus with the members of the Nacionalista Party (NP) and National Unity Party (NUP).

“Tapos ngayon nagrereklamo sila (Velasco camp), ang Committee on Public Accounts at Committee on Good Government ang nag-iimbestiga ng  daang-daang bilyong utang ng mga power producers sa PSALM,” said  Cayetano.

“That’s his choice eh, di ba? Energy chair tapos ayaw naman niya  i-hear iyung utang sa PSALM. Di ba?”

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, who chairs the House Committee on Public Accounts, and Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio  Sy-Alvarado, who chairs the House Committee on Good Government and  Public Accountability, has been conducting a joint inquiry into the  matter.

Based on the joint hearing, among the power generators that owe PSALM “overdue receivables” is South Premier Power Corp. (SPPC).

SPPC is an affiliate of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), which has been contesting P23.9 billion in alleged accumulated billings sent to it by  PSALM for the administration of the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan power plant  in Batangas.

Defensor also said that there was no indication that the panel chaired  by Velasco would take part in the joint inquiry into the matter.

He said the joint panel has scheduled on March 10 the third hearing on the matter.

“Maganda nga kung tatlong komite na ang mag-hear lalo’t ang intensiyon  ay makasingil ang pamahalaan,” said Defensor.

Other power producers with alleged debt to PSALM were listed as  follows: Northern Renewables Generation Corporation, P4.5 billion; FDC  Misamis Power Corporation, P2.6 billion; FDC Utilities, Inc., P1.1  billion; Good Friends Hydro Resources Corporation, P1.2 billion; and  Waterfront Mactan Casino Hotel, Inc., P87 million.

It was learned that PSALM also listed receivables worth P35.4 billion under power and universal charges (UC), and another P26.3 billion under “litigation, for reconciliation, and for collection.” This results in a total of P95.4 billion in overdue receivables.