Breaking News: Meralco’s new ‘elec-trick’ rates

File photo: Womens group held a lights out protest against power rate hike.

File photo: Womens group held a lights out protest against power rate hike.

Meralco’s new ‘elec-trick’ rates

Herman Tiu Laurel (June 29, 2015)

There may be many issues that are equally important but certainly none more vital to the Philippines’ economic welfare than the World’s highest power rates perpetually being imposed on its people.

The 2016 political arena may have been enlivened by VP Jejomar Binay’s much delayed offensive against the BS Aquino administration.  But what could have been an atomic bomb to boost his fortunes was if he had also started lambasting the sky high electricity rates.

Last week, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) came up with its new “elec-trick” scheme to ostensibly hoodwink the public into paying for its double “capex” (capital expense) included in its billing to consumers.

The business newspaper, which, like Meralco, belongs to the same financial “investment” group, announced this latest “elec-trick” reverse-psychology gimmick on its Web site.  On June 24, 2015 it said, “’Meralco could delay July bills’ … (specifically) the issuance of July power bills for a couple of days as it awaits regulatory approval for its proposed lower distribution tariff…”

That delay has been deliberated planned by the power company to circumvent the consumer advocates and “good” Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) elements who have been calling on Meralco to account for past capex projects it has yet to fulfill, amounting to tens of billions of pesos.

Meralco obfuscates by propagating misleading news items, like this June 11 piece headlined in many newspapers that claims “Meralco seeks lower interim rate for distribution,” which delighted even our power consumer advocates–until one of our stalwarts, Jojo Borja, visited the ERC and looked into Meralco’s petition.

This “lower interim rate” is actually a P20-billion capex petition for 2016 (which is double of all past years since 2007 of P7 billion to P10 billion a year) without accounting for numerous unfulfilled capex projects promised in Regulatory Periods 3 and 2, the rate setting exercise.

Every four years Meralco is required to justify its rate petitions and undergo a review of what it has really spent on, supposedly conducted, and not done.  Consumer advocates attending the ERC hearings now demand this before any new capex is granted.

Meralco has long been getting “provisional” (now “interim”) capex privileges despite failing to show accomplishments on the billions of pesos in supposed improvements.

In the present instance, Meralco is basing its rate petition on the PBR (Performance Based Rate) scheme, which in itself has also been put into question by consumer advocates over the past decade.

The “replacement cost” valuation of Meralco’s assets has raised the company’s asset base from P48 billion in 2006 (under the old RoRB or Return-on-Rate-Base framework) to P96 billion in 2007 by the stroke of a pen–without any additional or new assets.

That is the heart of the PBR scam under the former ERC chairman Rodolfo Albano (who shamelessly wanted his daughter-in-law to replace him), which the current and soon-to-retire chairperson Zenaida Ducut continues to the present day.

The 100-percent increase in asset valuation effectively doubled Meralco’s distribution rate base. After the PBR asset revaluation, Meralco distribution rates rose from P0.70 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in July 2007 to P1.167/kWh by June 2008.  And since Meralco annually claims new capex, its asset base has risen further; by 2011 it rose to P1.6464/kWh.

Between that period and the present with fluctuations in currency and other costs, the rate base declined slightly to the current P1.5562/kWh.

Meralco now claims it is reducing this (out of the goodness of its heart) to P1.3939/kWh but it is, as Jojo Borja explained to us, actually due to Meralco having already been awarded by the ERC billions in “under-recoveries” charged to “elec-tricked” consumers.

Consumer protection crusader Jojo Borja, along with the group United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) led by RJ Javellana (whose group has been provided volunteer lawyers to help in filing cases versus Meralco), will be filing a new case to stop this new “elec-trick” gimmick to fast break the unprecedented P20 billion capex for 2016; and escape scrutiny and responsibility for eight years of 100-percent overpriced rate base, as well as 400-percent overpriced power transformers (which also go into Meralco’s asset base) and 900-percent overpriced electric posts.

On the ERC situation, Borja has been giving us good feedback about several new officials in the institution who would like the agency to turn a new leaf.  They see the pending early-July retirement of Ducut as an opportunity to install an independent, consumer-sympathetic chairman at the helm. However, presidential adviser and oligarchic factotum Rene Almendras is attempting to insert (illegally) a fellow factotum who is “contained” in the collegial board but who would be used by his Big Business bosses once becoming chairperson.

As it is, the executive director of the ERC is already seen as a factotum of the oligarchs, a situation which the better members of the body are advising the public to neutralize with the appointment of a truly independent chairperson.  My consultations with some consumer groups also raised the idea of a Consumers’ Ombudsman, who will duly act on consumer complaints against these abusive and exploitative privatized utilities.

We really have to put a stop to these greedy power oligarchs’ dirty “elec-tricks” if the nation is to survive.

(Listen to Sulô ng Pilipino, 1098 AM, dwAD, Tuesday to Friday5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; watchGNN Talk News TV with HTL on Destiny Cable Channel 8, SkyCable Channel 213,, Saturday, 8 p.m. and replay Sunday8 a.m.; search Talk News TV and date of showing on YouTube; visit; and text reactions to 0917-8658664)

Roxas Henchman, Erice, Questions Poe’s Residency

Roxas ally asks Poe about residency qualification


Mar Roxas nanganganib ibaba ang ambisyon, o hindi tumakbo, o lumaban sa dalawang malalakas na kalaban, ang dating nagungunang Jojo Binay at ang kaalyadong si Grace Poe

Mar Roxas nanganganib ibaba ang ambisyon, o hindi tumakbo, o lumaban sa dalawang malalakas na kalaban, ang dating nagungunang Jojo Binay at ang kaalyadong si Grace Poe

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – First, it was an ally of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Now, it’s the turn of an ally of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to ask Senator Grace Poe about her residency qualifications for higher office in 2016.

Liberal Party (LP) member Rep. Edgar Erice, who has been advocating for Poe to be Roxas’ running mate next year, said that while he believes there is no question about Poe being a natural born Filipino, she must answer allegations that she may fall short of the 10-year residency requirement for president and vice president for the 2016 elections.

“Si Senator Poe is a natural born Filipino, wala dapat mag-question doon. But I think Senator Grace should be more transparent as far as accusation she’s been using US passport 2006, 2007, 2009, according to former Senator Tatad,” Erice said.

“November, December 2009, accusation na ang kaniyang pamilya remains to be American citizens. Mahalaga yan kung may mag-file ng disqualification. Senator Grace owes it to people supporting her, sa mga partido na gustong mag-adopt sa kanya. She owes it to be more transparent… especially isa siya sa mga proponent ng FOI (freedom of information),” he added.

He, however, said they have not encountered any information of this sort about Poe when they vetted her before she was adopted as a senatorial candidate of the administration in 2013.

“Wala eh, she’s been part of coalition in 2013, tingin namin wala kami dapat i-vet sa kanya. Pero in view of recent allegations especially on residency, palagay ko dapat maging transparent si Senator Poe kasi napakahalaga nitong mga sumusuporta.”

Erice’s call is similar to the call of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) president Toby Tiangco, who also asked Poe to be “tapat” or straightforward on her residency.

Poe’s friend and preferred running mate, Senator Francis Escudero, for his part, said: “Anumang batikos kay Senator Poe, malamang natatakot ilan sa desisyon niya sa kandidatura. Di relevant, maliban kung tingin nila malakas si Senator Poe.”

Meanwhile, Erice said should Poe be disqualified from the race for higher office, it is possible for Roxas to team up with the senator’s preferred running mate, Escudero, instead.

“Kung ang premise if Senator Poe will be ineligible to run for higher post because of residency problem, sino magiging VP ng Liberal Party? Sabi ko marami naman tinanong din… Chiz, sabi ko posible naman yun especially since Senator Chiz is a friend of the President, kumpare ng Pangulo,” said Erice.

Escudero refused to comment, noting that he is not a member of the Liberal Party.

“Hindi para sa akin sabihing oo o hindi na walang alok, partikular kung galing kay Congressman Erice. Kahit palipad hangin wala, mula lang yan kay Congressman Erice, di opisyal na posisyon ng LP, opinyon lang ni Erice,” he said.

Erice said, however, that Roxas may personally still feel bad that Escudero endorsed Binay for the vice presidential race in 2010.

“Everything is possible considering Senator Chiz ran under Team PNoy as part of the coalition. Of course siguro personally may sama ng loob si Secretary Mar kay Senator Chiz, pero karapatan ni Senator Chiz mamili kung sino ang gusto niya. At least ngayon nalaman ni Senator Chiz nagkamali siya nung 2010. Pero past is past. Si Secretary Mar, selfless yan eh. I think kung desisyon iyan ng Pangulo para sa bayan di magiging hadlang,” he said.

Roxas, Poe and Escudero have all played coy about their plans for 2016. But Erice thinks Roxas will already quit his post next month, before President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), and announce his plans.

Roxas has been going around the country giving away patrol cars for local police.

“Si VP Binay nangangampaniya, sinasabi kandidato, nangangako na siya. Si Secretary Mar di nangangampaniya, di nangangako, pinapatupad niya lang atas ng tungkulin sa kaniya. Yung pamimigay ng patrol cars at fire trucks dapat matagal na yan, but because of numerous problems sa procurement law nabitin nang nabitin,” Erice said.

“He will not be able to finish giving patrol cars all over the country. I think he will leave his post soon, palagay ko baka di siya maka 30% until December pa-delivery ng patrol cars,” he added.

Over 30 Liberal Party allies linked to pork scandal; Selective Justice – Only opposition lawmakers are charged

Selective Justice – Only opposition lawmakers are charged

Over 30 Liberal Party allies linked to pork scandal 

// //

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Only eight lawmakers have been charged with plunder and fund malversation before the Sandiganbayan. Among them, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada.

Critics want to see administration allies charged as well.

The Ombudsman says more charges against erring officials will be filed next month.

This report aired over CNN Philippines’ Network News on June 23, 2015.Over 30 Liberal Party allies linked to pork scandal – CNN Philippines

// //

Get full video here —

Three now in jail and three who got away. Not in picture is Senator Gringo Honasan who should have been indicted for PLUNDER too.

Three now in jail and three who got away. Not in picture is Senator Gringo Honasan who should have been indicted for PLUNDER too.

#trending – Pinay Beauties

This trending photograph is making waves and getting LIKES and SHARES. Unfortunately, there are no identifying details that accompany the photograph. We are requesting the public to send us Facebook fan page links or Twitter accounts that would correspond to the females in the picture. Names please. Schools or offices. Contacrt numbers. Are they show biz celebs, commercial models, car show models or simply BEAUTIFUL and not yet discovered by ad agencies or the movie indus

Pinay beauties spotted

Pinay beauties spotted

try? Thank you.

Classic Movie “Back to the Future” hoverboard now for real?

Lexus just unveiled what it calls a real, working hoverboard


Lexus posted a video on Tuesday for a vehicle we’ve all dreamed about but never thought possible: a real hoverboard.

The video is short, and doesn’t show the user actually riding it, but we do see the hoverboard, called SLIDE, hovering above the ground just before a skateboarder ditches his traditional board and hops on.

And in case there’s any doubt about the veracity of Lexus’s claim, on the promotional site for the hoverboard, the car company writes, “Lexus has created a real, rideable overboard.”



That’s pretty much where the details end on the part of Lexus, other than the company’s effort to note Haruhiko Tanahashi as the Lexus chief engineer associated with the project.

Based on the look of similar hoverboard projects we’ve seen in the past, the Lexus hoverboard at first appears to be the magnetic kind that requires a metal riding surface. However, thehoverboard appears to be floating in an outside skate park — a space that usually has concrete flooring (it’s difficult to tell what the surface is made of in this case).

And then there’s the smoke curling off the thing, which brings to mind the examples of quantum levitation we’ve seen in the past.



Finally, the video doesn’t show anyone actually riding the hoverboard, so this could all just be a promotional stunt designed to get eyeballs on Lexus. So far, the company isn’t offering any more detail. But you know what? In this case, it doesn’t matter — the video alone is worth it.

Real or not, we are now looking at a hoverboard with a major auto maker’s logo on it — that’s a win.

VP Binay Characterizes Aquino Government as Anti-Poor and Dispenses Selective Justice

Sa kaunaunahang press conference ng Pangalawang Pangulo matapos magbitiw sa gabinete ni Presidente Aquino, inupakan ni Bise Presidente Binay ang Pamahalaang Aquino dahil sa mga patakarang contra-mahihirap. Binanatan din ni Jojo Binay ang SELECTIVE JUSTICE kung saan mga taga oposisyon lamang ang nakakasuhan ukol sa kurapsyon. Sinabi nya na laganap ang KURAPSYON sa kasalukuyang pamahalaan ngunit hindi iniimbistigahan ang mga malalapit sa Presidente. Nabanggit din ang mga problema tungkol sa DAP, PDAF at Mamasapano Incident. Hindi raw nararamdaman ng mga mahihirap ang biyaya mula sa pambansang pamahalaan sapagkat MANHID ang Aquino government.

Vice President Jejomar Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay

4 way 2016 Presidential contest: Poe, Binay, Duterte and Mar

As things stand today, the Poe camp is determined to field Senator Grace Poe for President, WITH or WITHOUT an endorsement from President Aquino. The belief is that since Senator Grace is leading in the surveys, there would be no reason for her to slide down to Vice President as contemplated by the die-hard Liberal Party Mar Roxas rah rah boys. Considering the fact too that former Senator Mar Roxas is far behind in the Presidential survey (overtaken even by upstart Mayor Rordrigo Duterte, with Poe in number one and Binay in number two positions), Poe will not willingly yield the standard bearer position to 2010 Vice Presidential losing candidate, Mar Roxas. A Poe versus Roxas fight would certainly split the Liberal Party and the Administration Coalition since the more practical traditional politicians and political butterflies would tend to side with the candidate with the greater chance at electoral victory. Anyway, it would just be a few more weeks before President Aquino announces his choice of the candidate that would succeed him (or to put it more bluntly, try to succeed him since there is no guarantee of victory for his choice).

Mar Roxas nanganganib ibaba ang ambisyon, o hindi tumakbo, o lumaban sa dalawang malalakas na kalaban, ang dating nagungunang Jojo Binay at ang kaalyadong si Grace Poe

Mar Roxas nanganganib ibaba ang ambisyon, o hindi tumakbo, o lumaban sa dalawang malalakas na kalaban, ang dating nagungunang Jojo Binay at ang kaalyadong si Grace Poe

Bright Idea: Safer overtaking now made easier with truck rear-mounted video screen

Samsung attaches screen to truck rear to show the road ahead

The Argentinian arm of the South Korean tech giant is showing off what it calls a Safety Truck, a semi truck with a wireless camera mounted on the front, displaying the road ahead on a screen tacked on to the back of the truck. The move is a part of an effort to reduce head-on collisions from passing.

The front-mounted camera broadcasts its signal to four monitors on the back of the truck

The front-mounted camera broadcasts its signal to four monitors on the back of the truck to give drivers behind the truck a good view ahead. In addition to making passing safer, Samsung says that this would let drivers see any obstacles in the road ahead, preventing the need for sudden emergency braking.Samsung said the truck used for testing isn’t currently operational anymore, but it is working with government and non-government safety agencies to develop the tech further.

It seems like it would work well on two-lane roads, but it wouldn’t really have much use on multi-lane highways. The screen could also prove to be a distraction, and image quality issues could be a concern as well.

It’s an innovative approach to road safety, but Samsung hasn’t provided much of a timeline for its development, so who knows when, or even if it will be adopted.