Almendras earns ire of lawmakers

Published by rudy Date posted on April 27, 2011

For failing to file appropriate charges against oil companies which have alleged to have overpriced their products, Energy Secretary Jose Almendras took a beating from lawmakers yesterday.

Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Alyansa ng mga Grupo ng Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones said it was unfortunate that Almendras only made a warning to oil firms to roll back pump prices this week or be hailed to court for overpricing.

“Secretary Almendras should just do it (filing of charges) if he sees that the oil companies are guilty of overpricing. This shows that the P-Noy administration is not serious in fighting for the people’s welfare,” Magsaysay said yesterday. She is a senior member of the House committee on energy and transportation.

Magsaysay said that the failure of Almendras to act on the unabated price hikes on petroleum products resulted to the rising costs of commodities.

Colmenares, a senior member of the House committee on trade and industry, said Almendras lost the golden opportunity for his department to redeem its lost credibility and earn the people’s trust when it did not file charges against the oil firms.

“Cases should be filed immediately. Government action against oil companies is long-overdue and in fact it has been the main defender of the Big 3. Now is the time for action and not mere threats, if they already have the goods on the oil cartel, they should charge them now,” Colmenares said.

For his part, Palmones, a member of the House committee on economic affairs, said “sawa na tayo sa mga pangako ng DoE. Huwag ng puro amba, Almendras must prove that the oil players will still abide by our policies, Congress is surely behind him.”

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, vice chairman of the House committee on transportation, also expressed strong belief that Almendres should have pressed for the filing of charges against oil firms instead of threatening the oil firms.

“He should (file cases) if violation has been committed,” Benitez said, a member of the House committee on energy.

Almendras made the statement as Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Seaoil Philippines and Eastern Petroleum Corp. announced a rollback of diesel pump prices by 40 centavos per liter and gasoline prices by 25 centavos per liter effective yesterday. –Gerry Baldo, Daily Tribune

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