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There are no legal barriers to Lotilla’s selection as DOE director: DOJ

On Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) declared no legal impediment to the nomination of attorney Raphael Lotilla as the nation’s new secretary of energy.

The DOJ stated that despite Lotilla having served as an independent director of Aboitiz Power Corporation and Ace Enexor, it considers that his candidacy as the secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) is “legal and legitimate.”

According to Mico Clavano, an attorney in the Office of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, “the department thinks that the appointment should be lawful given that an independent director does not fall within those barred by the Department of Energy Act of 1992.”

According to the DOJ, the Department of Energy Act of 1992, also known as Republic Act (RA) 7638, did not include the unique idea of an “independent director.”

No officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private corporation or enterprise with a primary focus on the energy industry may be appointed as Secretary within two (2) years of retirement, resignation, or separation from such a position, according to Section 8 of RA 7638.

The DOJ stated that an independent director is “not an officer based on the nature, duties, powers, and obligations vis-à-vis the corporation he serves,” in line with the Revised Corporation Code, Securities Regulations Code, and the Code of Corporate Governance.

It stated that an independent director, such as Lotilla, does not fall under the prohibition under Section 8 of R.A. 7638 against an officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private firm or enterprise involved principally in the energy industry.

Lotilla’s designation is now a nomination, pending clarification of his job position, according to press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

Lotilla served as the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation’s president before being appointed to the DOE (PSALM).

The government corporation PSALM is in charge of overseeing the privatization of the National Power Corporation’s stranded contract expenses, contracts with independent power producers, and other non-power assets. It also manages the National Power Corporation’s financial responsibilities.

From 2005 until 2007, Lotilla served as the energy secretary for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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