Solons junk Reyes, Atienza

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — THE House contingent to the powerful Commission on Appointments rejected the appointments of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and Environment Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza.

Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, head of the House panel, said it has been the consensus of the lawmakers to reject the two Cabinet secretaries because of their poor performance and failure to respond to the needs of the people.

Reyes and Atienza were bypassed several times by the CA and reinstalled eight times by Malacañang.

“We’ve formally requested Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the concurrent CA chairman, to terminate consideration of the appointments of Secretaries Reyes and Atienza,” Gullas said in a statement.

The separate petitions to stop deliberations on the two Cabinet members were signed by majority of the House contingent.

According to Gullas, complaints and grievances against Reyes and Atienza piled up over the years.

“Many House members have come forward to complain against Reyes and Atienza. Both have been absolutely difficult, uncooperative and unresponsive to the needs of the constituents of House members,” he said.

The lawmakers are asking Reyes to explain why fuel prices are still overpriced and why the agencies under his turf tolerate the unreasonable price increases of oil companies.

“The DoE under Reyes has been totally remiss in superintending oil refiners and importers and in safeguarding consumers against potential pump pricing abuses,” Gullas added.

The solon said under the 1998 Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Law, the DoE and the Department of Justice have adequate powers to thwart pricing abuses by the oil firms.

Aside from the oil prices, the solons are also demanding answers from Reyes on why the electricity rates is higher in Visayas than in Luzon and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Atienza, Gullas said, has been “unsupportive and unhelpful.” Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza, a member of the CA, said graft and corruption at the DENR worsened under Atienza’s leadership.

“My complaint against him is that he has reinstated officials of his agency with unresolved graft cases. That has worsened graft and corruption in his department,” Plaza said.

Reports said Atienza will run again as Mayor of Manila while Reyes will run as Taguig-Pateros Representative.