Monsada named energy department OIC
Monsada named energy department OIC
(UPDATED) Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada – one of the 4 names floated since Jericho Petilla's resignation – is named the agency's OIC

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Resigned Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has gotten his wish for his successor at the department, albeit temporarily.

His choice of officer in charge at the Department of Energy – Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada – has been named OIC by President Benigno Aquino III, the palace announced on Friday, July 3.

According to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, Monsada herself preferred to be designated OIC rather than “acting secretary or a secretary” because she wanted to retain her rank as a career official. 

“Because what happens when a career official becomes a presidential appointee is they lose their rank as career [official], and it has taken them years to get to a certain position,” Valte said.

“I humbly accept the task as OIC while the President is looking for a suitable replacement,” Monsada said during turnover ceremonies at the DOE on Friday. 

She vowed to continue and effectively implement the policies laid down by Petilla. “Wala naman siguro akong ipapatupad na bago. Tuloy tuloy lang. What we are looking at now is up to what extent ang p’wedeng gawin ng OIC.” 

(I don’t think I will introduce any new policy. We’ll just continue what we have now. What we are looking at now is up to what extent an OIC can do these things.)

Monsada, a licensed chemist, earlier served as OIC undersecretary for renewable energy. Before that, she was a long-time director of the Oil Industry Management Bureau. She has been with the agency for 30 years.

Since Petilla submitted his resignation in March, 4 names have been floated as his possible replacement: National Power Corporation president Gladys Cruz-Sta Rita, National Transmission Corporation president Roland Bacani, former energy secretary Raphael “Popo” Lotilla, and Monsada.

Monsada had been recommended by Petilla as OIC until Malacañang names a permanent DOE secretary.

Petilla’s resignation took effect June 30. It was already an extension of the original April 30 effectivity date. He said he was resigning to run for either congressman or senator in 2016. In his resignation letter, he cited “personal and family reasons.”

Sources told Rappler, however, he was leaving in protest of the appointment to the Energy Regulatory Commission, an agency attached to the DOE, of an executive with links to the a firm suspected of colluding with other power players to jack up electricity prices.

Read Rappler’s exclusive series on the energy secretary’s resignation:

At the turnover ceremonies on Friday, Petilla told DOE employees and officials: “I will not leave the department without a leader to lead you and continue the efforts we started. These are our achievements and we need to preserve them even without me in the picture.” 

“Being at the DOE is one of the highlights of my life. I will never forget you all,” he said. –

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