Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla finally relinquished his post two months after handing over his resignation,
Petilla quit in March and his was supposed to leave in April.
He, however, extended his stay and earlier in June he said he would step down on June 30.
“I will not leave the Department [of Energy]without a leader to lead you and continue the efforts we started. These are our achievements and we need to preserve [them]even without me in the picture,” Petilla said in his farewell speech at the DOE.
Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada will act as the department’s officer-in-charge.
It was Petilla who recommended Monsada, a career official, as his replacement.
Petilla, who was governor of Leyte before joining the Aquino Cabinet in November 2012, is believed to be running for senator under the administration-backed Liberal Party. He had accepted the nomination of the ruling Lakas-CMD party as one of its candidates for senator under the Team Unity umbrella in the 2007 elections, but he withdrew his candidacy and was replaced by actor Cesar Montano.
Petilla had offered to resign his post in December 2013 after the DOE reneged on its promise to restore power in areas devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda by Christmas Eve, but his quit offer was not accepted by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
A Rappler report posted in mid-June said Petilla decided to leave the Cabinet after President Aquino appointed Geronimo Santa Ana as commissioner of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
“The appointment didn’t sit well with Petilla because it compromises the ERC and jeopardizes public interest,” the report said.
Quoting “informed sources,” the Rappler report added that the President had asked Petilla to recommend somebody to fill up the last slot in the ERC that had been vacant for two years.
The DOE chief reportedly nominated an engineer but Malacañang instead announced the appointment of Santa Ana, an accountant.
Petilla reportedly “confronted” Aquino about the appointment and the President “admitted” that Santa Ana was chosen “upon the request of the Aboitizes,” whose business interests include power generation.
Santa Ana was reportedly nominated by Petilla’s predecessor, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, who also had worked for the Aboitiz family.
Almendras’ niece, Josephine Magpale-Asirit, is also an ERC commissioner.
Almendras denied the Rappler report, saying, “I had nothing to do with the appointment of Mr. Santa Ana to the ERC. As a matter of fact, since I stepped out of my DOE role, I do not get involved in energy matters.”
Tha Aboitizes, Almendras and Santa Ana hail from Cebu.
The new DOE chief, Monsada, also has Cebu links,
Monsada, a licensed chemist, graduated from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City and was one of the university’s outstanding alumni in 2011.