Lawmaker questions TRO on ERC exec’s suspension
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker yesterday questioned the Court of Appeals (CA) decision stopping the suspension of four commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

In a resolution dated Feb. 9, the appellate court’s Ninth Division issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the one-year suspension order issued in December last year by the Office of the Ombudsman against ERC Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana.

The TRO is for 60 days.

In granting the petition of the ERC officials, the CA explained that the TRO was necessary so as not to “impair public service” considering that the Palace has not appointed their replacement.

“Why would the CA jump the gun on the Office of the President as to when and who will be appointed as temporary or acting ERC commissioners? Why would the CA thwart the implementation of the executory decision of the ombudsman?” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a statement. 

Zarate believes that the TRO constituted “undue interference in the powers and independence of the ombudsman, as well as the Office of the President.”

The CA agreed with the petitioners that they would suffer irreparable injury if the suspension would not be stopped.

Associate Justice Mariflor Punzalan Castillo penned the CA decision. Associate Justices Danton Bueser and Henry Inting concurred with the ruling.

Records showed that the ombudsman ordered the suspension of the ERC commissioners after they were found administratively liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of public service, simple misconduct and simple neglect of duty.

They were also charged with violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan. 

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