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PSALM considering SMC subsidiary’s P22B payment offer — Defensor

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State-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. is considering the offer of a San Miguel Corp. (SMC) subsidiary to pay in advance its obligations for administering a 1,200-megawatt power plant in Batangas, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said on Thursday.

“We will study it,” lawyer Irene Garcia, president and chief executive officer of PSALM, told the House committee on public accounts and the committee on good government and public accountability on Wednesday.

Defensor chairs the public accounts panel.

Garcia said if PSALM accepts the offer, it would be without prejudice to pursuing its previous billings to South Premier Power Corp. (SPPC) amounting to P23.9 billion, which the SMC subsidiary had contested in a complaint filed with the Mandaluyong regional trial court more than five years ago. The case is still pending.

The two committees are looking into P95.4 billion in debt owed by big energy sector companies and cooperatives to PSALM, including the nearly P24 billion from SPPC.

Defensor said he would support a decision on the part of PSALM to accept SPPC’s offer.

“We can use the money to augment the funds of the Department of Health and government hospitals in containing the spread of the coronavirus disease and in treating patients,” he said.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the SMC subsidiary formally presented its offer to advance its monthly payments totaling P22.6 billion up to June 2022 for administering the Batangas power plant.

SMC announced the offer in the media a day ahead of the inquiry.

During the hearing, some congressmen urged SMC-SPPC and PSALM to agree on a compromise for the P23.9 billion in previous billings. But both sides said they would just await the Mandaluyong court’s ruling on the SPPC complaint.