Plunder raps filed vs PSALM chief

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Plunder charges have been filed against the head of state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm) and officers of a private firm involving a contract for the operation of Sual Power Station in Pangasinan.

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San Miguel Energy Corporation (SMEG), represented by Elenita Go, filed the complaint at the Department of Justice (DOJ), saying the alleged connivance of Psalm and the firm resulted in a P14-billion loss for the government.

The respondents were Lourdes Alzona, president and chief executive officer of Psalm; Suguru Tsuzaki, president of Team Philippines Energy Corporation (TPEC); Kochi Tamura, executive vice president of Team Sual Corporation (TSC) and several John Does and Jane Does.

The case stemmed from a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into in June 2009 by Psalm with TPEC and TSC, which served as the Independent Power Producer (IPP) for the Sual Power Station.

The complainant said the MOA, dubbed “Memorandum of Agreement in Respect of the Excess Capacity of the Sual Power Station,” formed the concept of “excess capacity.”

It noted that the agreement was that the “ECA [Energy Conversion Agreement] Contracted Capacity would be 100 MW [megawatts]net per Unit. TSC shall be entitled by itself and/or through TPEC, to market, offer, sell and supply the Nominal Excess Capacity to any customer, independent of and without payment of any fee to Psalm and/or NPC.”

In June 2009, SMEC said, it won the bidding as Sual’s IPP administrator and was granted the rights to 1,000 MW Net Contracted Capacity of the Sual Power Station.

SMEC, however, said it did not get the Net Contracted Capacity of 500 MW per Unit because TPEC’s 100 MW Nominal Capacity was given priority in accordance with the 2009 MOA on excess capacity.

It requested Psalm to review the questioned MOA but the latter sided with TPEC and “practically endorsed pro rata sharing proposal, saying both SMEC and TPEC should share these [generation]imbalances.”

SMEC added that TPEC illegally benefited from the excess capacity to the detriment of the Philippine government and SMEC.

From November 2009 to September 2013, TPEC was able to gain P17.2 billion from the 2.82 million MWH generated as the “excess capacity,” using the MOA settlement formula, it said.

SMEC explained that from this amount, P14 billion should have gone to the government, in accordance with ECA, which states that the “entire power station output” should be dedicated to the National Power Corporation, while P3.3 billion should have been given to SMEC, corresponding to the capacity that was taken from SMEC’s 1000 Net Contracted Capacity.

It pointed out that the ill-gotten wealth in this case came from a series or combination of payments made to TPEC, anchored on the “illegal MOA executed by Psalm, TPEC and TSC.”

The firm maintained that all elements of plunder are present because of the alleged connivance of Alzona with TPEC and TSC by continuing the implementation of the questioned MOA.

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