PALACE  CONFIRMS  TRANSCO  PRESIDENT  ON  WAY  OUT

MANILA,
JULY 27, 2006 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - Malacañang confirmed yesterday reports that National Transmission Corp. (Transco) president Dr. Alan Ortiz is on the way out.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, however, could not say exactly why Ortiz would be removed and who would replace him: "If I’m not mistaken there is really a plan to do that (remove Ortiz). I think there is such an action on that but I don’t know if that (document) has been transmitted to (President Arroyo) but there really is such a move."

Ermita said he still has to check whether a final clearance from Mrs. Arroyo was secured "before we transmit the actual written order about him being changed by somebody."

"I do not know whether we have transmitted that particular document to him so, I don’t know up to when (Ortiz) is (staying in office)," Ermita said.

Reports said an influential and wealthy family pressured Malacañang into removing Ortiz after Transco signed an agreement with the Korea Electric Power Corp. and Salcon Power Corp. for the construction of a 200-megawatt power plant in Cebu. The family is also reportedly engaged in the power sector business in the Visayas.

Ermita did say he knows Ortiz as a "very capable officer."

When asked whether the President was dissatisfied with his performance, Ermita said: "There are many reasons for replacing people in government so I wouldn’t wish to venture that that is the reason because I happen to know Dr. Alan Ortiz."

"There’s got to be a reason, but not necessarily because of dissatisfaction," he said. "There are many who are replaced (in government). Remember all the appointees are subject to the President’s desire to maintain or to be retained in office or to be changed so that’s the prerogative of the President."

Meanwhile, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Carlito Puno said he was informed by Malacañang that he would remain in his post after he was supposed to leave office last week.

Puno’s statement has yet to be officially confirmed by the Palace.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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