But Casiño, who chairs the House committee on energy said he motored to the town to personally hear the sentiments of townsfolk regarding the issue that the local government is facing with the power producer First Gen.
“Alam naman natin nagkaroon ng mukhang mismangement sa power distribution company,” he said.
“Gayunpaman ang importante para sa atin ngayon, maibalik kaagad yung kuryente.,”
He said the provincial government and the National Electrification Administration can come up with a measure to immediately reconnect the electricity for the benefit of the residents while an audit of PAMES transactions is being conducted.
He also said that the PAMES franchise is already up for renewal and this could be the best time for a probe.
He said he will make sure the franchise would not be renewed unless its finances are properly audited and accountable people are made to pay.
“Managot ang dapat managot,” he said.
Tension rose when Vice Mayor Romeo Borja, Jr., decided to face the crowd, which police estimated at about 120 people, and started enumerating the names of those people and entities who owed PAMES, including the leaders who spoke prior to his attendance.
He said naming them gave him a heavy heart but had to do it to prove that it was his father’s fight for his constituents that resulted to the power cut-off.
He first mentioned villages such as Malbang whose head, Danilo Padilla, also belonged to the picket speakers.
Malbang, he said, had P1.4 million debt. Villarica, which host the power plant, owed P2.3 million.
While doing it, however, someone from the crowd shouted “bulaan” apparently referring to the vice mayor.
Among those he named who supposedly failed to settle bills with PAMES were the protest group La Solidad leader Bienvenido Reyes who allegedly has 10 months unpaid bills amounting to about P25,000; a resort owned by another protest leader Dr. Bernardo dela Merced with some P268,000 debts for 18 months; Padilla has 31 months, P41,000; former Mayor Ruben Huerta, five months, P11,000; Coun. Teodora Agustin, 47 months, P119,000, among others.
The vice mayor admitted he himself has an outstanding bill for eight months.
In reaction, Reyes said he will castigate his wife as soon as he went home for no -paying the bills.
But Borja said they did not blame the people for failing to pay their bills and instead run after FGHPC with allegedly undervalued equipment declaration.
“What we are saying is that it’s the billionaire company that should pay properly,” he said, adding that FGHPC enjoys a five-month tax moratorium that would amount to roughly P100 million.