Questions raised on Devanadera ambition to head Department of Energy
As the cabinet of president-elect President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. begins to be filled, Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson Agnes Devanadera aims for a seat at the high table as Secretary of Energy.
When the news of her ambition, bolstered by an endorsement by no less than Presidential sister Senator Imee Marcos spread, many raised eyebrows were seen in the inner circles of Philippine power and energy including Consumer rights and energy advocacy group Power for People Coalition (P4P) since the controversial lawyer’s public service career has been rife with questionable actions, graft cases and a seeming love affair with what we may call “dirty energy”.
It may be recalled that as far back as 2006, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a case against Devanadera for graft over an anomalous P6.1-billion compromise deal that the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC), a government-owned and controlled corporation, entered into with Radstock Securities Ltd., successor-in-interest of Marubeni Corp. where Devanadera was at that time acting as the legal counsel of PNCC.
And again in 2007, Agnes Devanadera who was at that time Solicitor General was subject of a complaint received by the Office of the Chief Justice which called for disbarment/disciplinary action against Devanadera for “engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activities” during the May 14, 2007 national and local elections, and for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
In terms of her preference for dirty energy, advocacy group P4P Convenor Gerry Arances said that Devanadera should instead be “facing hearings and complaints” for allegedly not fulfilling her obligations as the head of the energy regulator.
“She failed consumers in her post as ERC chair and we are deeply worried by what she can do or, in this case, cannot do as DOE Secretary that will benefit power stakeholders,” he said.
“From policies on power procurement that remain unfair to renewables to the lax imposition of penalties on fossil companies for anomalous services, Devanadera has proven herself to be an ally of coal, gas, and other dirty energy. We’re bound to see the DOE remaining fossil friendly with her at its helm,” he added.
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