EDITORIAL: Osmena’s Hidden Agenda

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It’s a seesaw game for a senator from Cebu who defended the EPIRA to his last breath. The people’s temper has changed the playing field. The court and the regulatory bodies are now bent to supporting people’s interests.

That Senator Serge Osmena III is pressing for drastic changes in the 12-year-old Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) betrays what could be his hidden agenda in protecting the interests of his billion pesos clients – the electricity companies.

The recent spate of Supreme Court ruling barring Meralco from jacking up its rates to historic highs must have spurred him to take a look anew at Epira, the power reform bill he ironically sponsored in the Senate as chair of its energy committee.

A major piece of reform meant to address the nation’ persistent electricity woes, that legislation appears to have disappointed power suppliers as it became a stumbling block to their obsession to rake in more profits.

With the Supreme Court actively taking a pro-people stance in the face of surging power rates, electricity companies – including Senator Osmena himself – are certainly mulling over ways on how to amend the law by plugging its gaping loopholes that had given rise to lawsuits lodged before the Supreme Court.

Undoubtedly, Meralco fell short of its profit forecasts in the wake of the High Court’s freezing of what could have amounted to a grand deception in style of gullible consumers.

This is despite that for decades and even prior to Epira’s enactment into law in 2001, Meralco and other money-driven utilities – had been wallowing in profits – all at the expense of the poor consumers.

Where lies the fault? For Osmena, it’s certainly back to the drawing board.

Apparently, Osmena must be wracking his brains and definitely, like any astute politician, he won’t stop at anything not even in the face of a snowballing campaign by well-meaning business groups, both foreign and local, calling for respect – and enough time – to allow the sanctity of the law to gain headway in a democratic setting.

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