The husband of Energy Assistant Secretary Caron Aicitel E. Lascano is not qualified to run the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
This was declared by Nueva Ecija Rep. Ria Vergara after grilling Lascano’s husband, Richard Nethercott, president of Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), the controversial private operator of WESM.
During the Committee on Energy hearing on the scandal-tainted takeover of WESM, Vergara asked Nethercott if he had any background in energy. Vergara said that under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), the WESM operator should be “financially and technically capable, with proven experience and experties of not less than two years as a leading market operator of similar or larger size markets endorsed jointly by the DOE (Department of Energy) and electric power industry participants.”
Nethercott replied: “Ma’am I didn’t start in the energy sector. But I have a little understanding, being an engineer and a lawyer. I think that was the reason I was appointed as a member of the interim board of IEMOP.”
Vergara said after hearing Nethercott’s reply, she does not think Lascano’s husband met the criteria set by the EPIRA for a WESM operator.
The House is questioning the move by Energy Secretary Al Cusi and his sidekick, Transco President Melvin Matibag, to transfer control of WESM from the state-owned Philippine Electricity Market Corp. to IEMOP.
Aside from the conjugal ties of Nethercott and Lascano, Matibag’s wife, Ma. Rene Ann Lourdes A. Garcia-Matibag, is also involved in the P7,000-capitalized IEMOP where she is listed as treasurer and incorporator.
Matibag’s wife is also head of corporate services of PEMC.
Nethercott is a lawyer (Ateneo School of Law, Utopia fraternity), a mechanical engineer (DE La Salle Universtity) and professor. He is a member of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan and ran for councilor and mayor in Bulacan (he lost both times). He used to be the chief of staff of former Senator Robert Jaworski and his congressman-son, Dudot; and legal staff of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.