Energy Secretary Raphael “Popo” Lotilla has very influential people backing his appointment.
A Babbler said the Commission on Appointments (CA) has been asked to hold Lotilla’s next hearing this week rather than in mid-December.
Babbler said the CA staff has been ordered to schedule Lotilla’s next hearing on December 6 instead of December 13 as originally scheduled.
The CA had deferred action on two Cabinet members – Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo and Lotilla – on November 29.
Some CA members have already raised a potential conflict of interest should Lotilla be appointed as head of the Department of Energy.
Lotilla was a director of Aboitiz Power, one of the biggest energy companies in the country, which is led by bilyonaryo Sabin Aboitiz, a BFF and adviser of President Bongbong Marcos.
During last week’s hearing, Senator Risa Hontiveros asked Lotilla if his brother Jose Perpetuo was tied to a local firm involved in power transmission.
Hontiveros noted that under Section 45 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, “no stockholder or official of a generation company or distribution utility or other entity engaged in generating and supplying electricity within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity shall be allowed to hold any interest directly or indirectly in Transco (National Transmission Corp.) or its concessionaire.”
Lotilla’s brother is an independent director at Synergy Grid & Development Philippines Inc. of ultra bilyonaryos Henry “Big Boy” Sy and Robert Coyiuto.
Synergy Grid owns 60 percent of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the operator of the country’s electricity transmission network.
But Lotilla defended his potential conflict of interest situation.
“You’re referring to one of my brothers?I think he’s a director in the mother company but not in the company itself, which runs the transmission,” said Lotilla.
“As far as I know, since in the case of my brother — he serves as an independent director, not of a transmission company, then the conflict of interest is not there,” he added.
At least seven more members of the CA have lined up to grill Lotilla.
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