Obstructionism is in full gear in the final half of President Rody Duterte’s term, which can only be attributed to the political climate that is starting to heat up as politicians jockey for public attention in the runup to the 2022 national polls.
The target is the President’s overwhelming popularity, which politicians who are not in the administration circle need to chip away just to have a fair chance of victory.
Grandstanding at the Senate was recently evident in one senator trying to needlessly upend the administration by throwing roadblocks against the call for emergency powers to solve the daily road crisis that has tested the patience and endurance of Metro Manila residents.
Despite the obvious need for the immediate resolution of the problem, Sen. Grace Poe, the atribida to Rody, kept on insisting about the likelihood of corrupt practices in the awarding of contracts and government spending related to the infrastructure buildup.
Poe may have been afflicted with a short memory as she would have been familiar with the gross underspending during the previous administration that resulted in the competitiveness of the economy to plunge in comparison with the country’s neighbors.
The obstructionist acts are interpreted as a way to derail the administration’s achievements in accordance with some political agenda.
At the House of Representatives, similar obstructionist legislators thrive. The target of the Makabayan minority is another vital utility which is electricity. The Left-wing legislators are throwing hurdles to the competitive selection process that was meant to solve the power supply problem which plagued most of Metro Manila during the recent dry months.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and party chairman Neri Colmenares are trying to stir up anger among Filipino consumers against Rody and his vision to boost the country’s chief sources of power supply at least cost to the people.
Zarate and Colmenares have been questioning the involvement of distribution utilities, like the Manila Electric Company, in the formation of the five-man third-party bids and awards committee (TPBAC) that will manage the competitive selection process (CSP) for the three-track power supply agreements that the Meralco is soliciting from power generators and suppliers.
Just last month, the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed with finality its decision directing the Energy Regulatory Commission to hold the process as part of efforts to reduce electricity prices.
Department of Energy (DoE) Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the process of selecting the consumer representatives was meant to make sure that consumer representatives who are not “hao xiao” (impostors) are present to avoid manipulation of the process.
Two consumer-representatives in the Meralco supply auction are Atty. Ferdinand Domingo, who sits as the TPBAC’s chairman, and Lawyer Adrian Cristobal, a former secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.
DoE Secretary Alfonso Cusi noted that in drafting the CSP Circular, “We made sure that it is fair and consumers are protected.”
He explained in the SC decision, it has been the DoE Circular that was prescribed as guiding policy for the industry.
The obstructionism persisted despite the aim of the SC in the ruling clearly being achieved.
In the initial auction last 9 to 11 September, Phinma Energy Corp., San Miguel Energy Corp. and South Premiere Power Corp. gave the lowest rates to Meralco’s search for the supply of 1,200 megawatts starting December.
The bids from P4.63 to P4.75 per kilowatt-hour were about half of the current average Meralco rate of about P9 per kilowatt-hour.
So, what was Bayan Muna trying to prove in blocking the process?
Aside from its “agit-prop” function towards some higher sinister purpose of “people’s champions” like Zarate and Colmenares, their predictable noise against the CSP process seems to be another Left-wing inspired tactic — as they have done in so many cases — to exploit any issue to fire up the masses.
In trying to block the President’s efforts to strengthen the country’s baseload power generation and distribution situation, his critics, in effect, also appear to favor some big business interests that seek to push their own energy alternatives.
The bottomline, it appears, will always be the money generated either from supporters or profit-motivated entities who benefit from endless obstructionism from Rody’s foes.