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Punch-drunk senators

With minimal background on the technical aspects of the electricity trade, Pacquiao insisted on his allegations against Cusi, his rival.



Senator Manny Pacquiao has been parroting lines that are being fed to him by those behind the obviously organized effort to erode public confidence on President Rodrigo Duterte and his party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban).

Similar to a boxer getting his tips and advice from the ringside, Pacquiao has been throwing his punches in cadence with a grand scheme, which included the recent filing with the Ombudsman of alleged corrupt practices over the sale of the Malampaya project shares filed by Filipino-American billionaire Loida Nicolas-Lewis and her cohorts.

The only new twist in the Pacquiao allegations, which was made during the Senate hearings on the budget of the energy agencies, was his effort to associate the allegations of irregularities with a separate investigation on the alleged overpriced medical supplies.

The accusers even glossed over the fact that employing the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation-Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (PEMC-IEMOP) for the operation of the power spot market is required under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Pacquiao raised the same issue in an earlier media briefing where he threw wild swings about allegations of irregularities against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi after the retired boxer tried to wrestle control of the ruling party.

Pacman is seeking the presidency under the banner of Promdi, a party formed by the late Lito Osmeña of Cebu, and not under PDP Laban.

For several times, Cusi tried to explain that PEMC-IEMOP has the expertise and experience to run the spot market and that it does not need a huge capitalization since it is a non-profit firm.

With minimal background on the technical aspects of the electricity trade, Pacquiao insisted on his allegations against Cusi, his rival and now the PDP president, making it a partisan move.

The truth hurts, and after National Transmission Corporation president Melvin Matibag uttered the obvious that the Senate proceeding has turned into a political circus, he was banned from attending the hearings, which was not a tragic fate at all.

“While the DoE recognizes the prerogative of the Committee to conduct its hearing in a manner that preserves the integrity and order of the proceedings, it is our view that the hearing may have been used unwittingly as a platform to advocate certain political interests,” Cusi wrote Senate Committee on Energy chair Sherwin Gatchalian.

There was also the perfunctory targeting of Cusi during the hearing, accusing him of failing to address power shortages due to “negligence and politicking.”

Instead of cornering the energy officials, Pacquiao received a reply in kind from Matibag.

He was expelled from the budget deliberations for improper speech and behavior.

The energy officials were duly reminded that only the senators are allowed to mock their resource persons.