Suspended Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar should show some delicadeza (sense of propriety) and resign his post already, Surigao del Sur (Second District) Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Monday.
“There’s no point in Mr. Salazar clinging like a leech to his post. He should get out pronto,” the chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, added in a statement.
“Mr. Salazar should save the ERC and himself from further embarrassment,” Pimentel said.
Malacañang again suspended Salazar on August 3, this time for four months, after he was found guilty of insubordination.
The disciplinary action came just as Salazar completed serving a prior 90-day preventive suspension from office.
The Palace first temporarily barred Salazar from his post on May 2, to preclude him from influencing outcome of multiple administrative cases pending against him.
Salazar was convicted of insubordination after he defied Malacañang’s designation of Commissioner Geronimo Santa Ana as officer-in-charge (OIC) of the energy watchdog.
He designated his own OIC–Ronaldo Gomez–who was then chief of the ERC’s Mindanao Field Office.
Amid allegations of corruption, Salazar went on a month-long leave in December last year, upon the advice of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
It was shortly before going on leave that Salazar named Gomez OIC.
The ERC chairman is still facing administrative charges for alleged serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, violations of the Government Procurement Act and violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Salazar had been implicated in the allegedly anomalous ERC infomercial project that led to the November 9, 2016 suicide of lawyer Francisco Villa Jr., the former head of the commission’s Bids and Awards Committee.
A previous inquiry by Pimentel’s committee uncovered two other alleged anomalies in Salazar’s office that involved the performance of crooked contracts in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Government Procurement Act.
The Pimentel panel established that Salazar, an appointee of then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd, also ordered the renovation of the ERC chairman’s conference room and obtained new pest control services for the commission, both without a competitive public bidding.
Villa was ERC Director for Planning and Information Service when he shot himself in the head with his .38-caliber revolver inside his house in Parañaque City.
He left three letters indicating he was under extreme duress from Salazar to endorse the rigged infomercial project contract with FatFree Inc.
“My greatest fear in bids and awards committee is the AVP [audio-visual presentation] 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 in one of his suicide notes.
The ERC director, 54, is the son of late Ombudsman Francisco Villa Sr.