San Miguel Corp. to DOF, PSALM: Let courts decide on Ilijan power plant row
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Monday urged the Department of Finance and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) to let the courts decide on the issue on the Ilijan power plant in Batangas City instead of resorting to “trial by media” to gain public approval.
“Let us not undermine the integrity of the court and return to basics. We choose to be on the side of law instead of presenting a good yet misleading story. Let us stick to the facts of the case and let the court decide,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in a statement.
Ang’s statement came a day after the DOF said the state-led PSALM will “vigorously” go after independent power producer administrators (IPPAs) with delinquent accounts amounting to P33.62 billion.
According to DOF, SMC’s South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC) incurred the highest unpaid account at P23.94 million as of December 31, 2019. SPPC administers the Ilijan gas-fired power plant in Batangas City.
But according to SMC, SPPC has not received any billing statement from PSALM claiming the alleged unpaid amount.
“Interestingly, PSALM has released the figure to the media instead of informing affected party SPPC or SMC. Based on PSALM’s last billing statement to SPPC, it is claiming just P15.63B,” the company said.
Last week, SMC also questioned the supposed debt, saying it already made P314.6 billion in payments, composed of P73.9 billion in fixed monthly payments and P240.7 billion in generation charges.
“The subject of contention has been pending with the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court since 2015.
To expedite its resolution, SPPC filed a motion for production of documents by PSALM in order to have full disclosure of the facts,” said the company.
But instead of submitting the requested documents, PSALM filed a motion to hear other defenses “unrelated to the merits of the case,” which the RTC and the Court of Appeals have both denied, according to SMC.
“The RTC has also indefinitely enjoined PSALM’s termination of the IPPA Agreement in favor of SPPC while the case remains pending. Such injunction has been upheld both by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” the company added.
“We are one with the DOF and PSALM in wanting to have closure to the case. However, premature closure by distorting the facts through the court of public opinion is only compromising the integrity of our justice system,” Ang concluded.
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