LIMA, Peru – In the wake of the suicide of an official allegedly facing tremendous pressure to do corrupt activities in the agency, President Duterte on Sunday ordered all officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to quit.
“I am demanding they all resign,” the President said, citing both internal and intelligence reports indicating systemic corruption in the agency.
He said he received and read the reports in the aftermath of the controversy involving the death of ERC director Francisco Villa Jr., who killed himself on Nov. 9 and left suicide notes expressing his troubles on the job.
Villa’s sister, journalist Charie Villa, said the notes showed that he had been under stifling pressure to approve procurement contracts without bidding or hire consultants as chair of ERC’s bids and awards committee.
“They really abused the [system]… just like in the past,” Mr. Duterte said, speaking to reporters before heading back to Manila after his participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here.
He also said he would ask Congress either to “disband” or “reorganize” the ERC and to file charges against the erring officials.
“I leave it to the implementor. All these officials will have a choice: I will demand from Congress to disband [ERC] or leave them without a budget, and/or file cases simultaneous,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President told the ERC officials to prepare themselves.
“My source was a document. Now it’s a matter of government lawyers assessing the case. They better pray,” he said. CBB