Editorial

Secretary Petilla should be fired

WE know President Aquino will never do it.

But we are writing this editorial just the same to put this matter on record: the Secretary of the Department of Energy lied to the people, attempted to create a panic, and tried to mislead the Congress of the Philippines into performing an act of abuse of power and authority by giving the President emergency powers.

These felonious acts are in addition to Sec. Jericho Petilla’s having been an incompetent head of the DOE, where he has neglected to do his duty in that government agency so crucial to the lives and health of the people, the education of our children, the state of business and industry, the prospects of attracting foreign investments, the operation of news media, the very functioning of every branch of government and virtually everything about the well-being of our nation.

The unfitness of Sec. Petilla for the job he has held for nearly two years now (President Aquino appointed him to the DOE on Nov. 4, 2012) has been observed by the victims of his incompetence and negligence–namely families using electric power, businessmen and industrialists and national and local government officials. It has been condemned by everyone in media (except those who are conscripts of the Aquino administration). His unfitness became abundantly clear at the hearing of the Energy Committee of the House of Representatives last Monday.

The aim of the hearing was to discuss the Senate-House joint resolution to grant the President emergency powers to solve what Secretary Petilla has been scaring everybody about–a looming power crisis in Luzon next year. It would paralyze not just the cities but also every productive endeavor everywhere in the country.

Mr. Petilla has been campaigning to have the Congress grant emergency powers to the President since just before he gave his 2014 State of the Nation Address.

The House hearing became a venue of revelations showing that Sec. Petilla either did not know what he was talking about or was inventing a non-existent power shortage crisis.

There would be no insurmountable power shortage problem because the large industries and businesses with their own heavy duty generators have committed to use these when necessary–whenever the supply of power became critically low.

Contrary to Sec. Petilla’s alarmist pronouncements, DOE experts who went to the hearing –which he did not attend–said the power shortage in 2015 would only be about 21 to 31 MW. This would only be experienced in the first half of April. Yet, Sec. Petilla had been insisting that the entire summer season next year would be cursed with shortages. And he has been saying the shortage would be in the high hundreds of MW.

The DOE representatives at the hearing also admitted that there would be no need to spend P6 billion to contract additional generating capacity of 300 megawatts.

Officials of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) also disclosed at the hearing that the expected power shortage would require the imposition only of an hour of brownouts once a week. And these brownouts would be scheduled on rotation in various areas during the peak hours.

All of these revelations convinced the congressmen that Sec. Petilla’s move to obtain emergency powers for the President had no bases.

But it also revealed that Secretary Petilla had either been manufacturing a power crisis or is just so ignorant of the data that his own experts in the DOE have.

He should be fired.

But of course President Aquino will not sack Mr. Petilla. That’s because Mr. Aquino is guilty of having told bigger lies and committed more serious and harmful acts of criminal incompetence and negligence than his Energy Secretary.