A lawmaker has urged the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the suicide of Francisco Jose Villa Jr. linked to the alleged corruption in his job at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy filed House Resolution 565 urging the appropriate House committee to look into the circumstances of Villa’s suicide, reportedly linked to pressures on him as ERC director to turn a blind eye on alleged rigged bidding in the commission.
“Villa’s suicide has brought about greater scrutiny over the severity and far reaching implications of ERC activities which he wrote about and which may have led to his demise-the alleged shady deals and preferential distribution of utilities, including power supply negotiations, which implicate key ERC officials,” Herrera-Dy said in her resolution.
The congresswoman said Villa’s suicide could open a “can of worms that could lead probers to uncover the reasons for unfair and unconscionable ERC contracts.”
“There arises the need to promote and protect the transparency and integrity of all bidding and procurement processes in the ERC, including the suspension of key ERC officials implicated in Villa’s suicide notes pending the results of any criminal investigation of the incident,” Herrera-Dy said.
Villa, 54, took out a .38 caliber revolver and shot himself fatally last Nov. 9 in the Parañaque City residence he shared with his sister, veteran broadcast journalist Charie Villa.
In his suicide note, Villa as Bids and Awards Committee chair pointed at the alleged rigged selection system for contracts in the ERC at the helm of the chairman and CEO Jose Vicente Salazar.
“My greatest fear in the bids and awards committee is the AVP by Luis Morelos which the chairman and CEO, Jose Vicente B. Salazar, chose through a rigged selection system. That will be a criminal act,” Villa wrote.
“I have fears about my BAC (bids and awards committee) work… Our mistakes may bring on [Commission on Audit] observations and disallowances. Those may affect me financially,” Villa added.
Villa’s sister earlier said her brother was “pressured to approve contracts for procurements and hiring consultants without proper bidding and procedure as bids and awards committee chairman.”
President Rodrigo Duterte had urged Salazar and other ERC officials to resign amid alleged rampant corruption in the commission, and even called on Congress to dissolve or reorganize the ERC as the state power regulator.
ERC chair Salazar has sought an audience with the President to clarify the issue and vowed to take “appropriate actions that would protect the organization.” RAM