Usurpation? Duterte didn’t approve Cusi-Matibag’s hasty privatization of WESM operator – Nograles
House Rep. Jericho Nograles believes Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and his sidekick, TransCo president and CEO Melvin Matibag, did not get President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval when they privatized the company running the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
“I am sure that President Duterte is unaware of this deal,” said Nograles in a report by Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc.
Nograles said Cusi and Matibag should have sought presidential approval before “spinning off” the state owned Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), the WESM operator, into a private company, Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines Inc. (IEMOP).
“Sigurado ako blind-sided ang Pangulo dahil bago pa mailipat ng PEMC ang assets na ngayon ay ginagamit ng IEMOP, kakailanganin muna ang pirma niya,” said Nograles noting that PEMC’s assets and its operating staff were taken over by IEMOP when it assumed control of WESM in September 2018.
During the House probe on the WESM scandal Wednesday, the Governance Commission on GOCCs (GCG) declared that neither PEMC nor IEMOP sought the President’s approval and Nograles was quick to call Cusi and Matibag’s move as “usurpation” and the officers involved could be liable for plunder. GCG also stressed that in its view, PEMC and IEMOP were still covered by rules on privatization.
Cusi’s resignation as PEMC chair paved the way for the privatization of the WESM operator which had Matibag’s wife, Ma. Rene Ann Lourdes A. Garcia-Matibag, as incorporator-treasurer and Richard Nethercott, the husband of Cusi’s Assistant Secretary Caron Aicitel E. Lascano, as president. Transco has jurisdiction over WESM which means Matibag supervises the P7,000-capitalized company his wife formed. IEMOP has reportedly raked in over P100 million from its collection of .864 centavos per kilowatt hour sold on WESM.