By Bernadette H. Carreon

Senator Rukebai Inabo said yesterday that she would take the high road in the dispute against Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman of the Board Sam Masang and instead concentrate on “the people’s need and keep moving forward on its intent to change PPUC management.”

In a statement, Inabo said she agrees with Senate President Hokkons Baules to “remain mindful that these sensitive discussions ultimately resolve issues of public concern and bring about helpful improvements” to the lives of the people we serve.

[restrict]

Inabo said as stated by the Senate President Hokkons Balues, her committee continues to have the support of the majority of the senators in addressing the PPUC issue.

“With PPUC power, water, and wastewater rates being the fastest rising cost the people have to adjust to being driven with PPUC’s aggressive collection charges, the PPUC has made many people in low and middle income level seriously destitute.  And the Senate feels and hears the desperation resounding in many Palauan households,” Inabo said.

In his statement on Wednesday Senate President Baules said that all committees are assured of support but cautioned senators from getting personal on critical public issues.

“Recent engagement in the media on critical public issues such as the Palau Public Utilities Corporation and others have become intense debates that give off the appearance of impassioned personal conflicts that are not easily remedied,” Baules stated.

Baules however said each committee chair will be “afforded the courtesy to diligently pursue reliable and accurate information needed to best serve their respective Committees and the interest of the Senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau.”

A word war has escalated between Inabo and Masang as they accused each other of committing official misconduct.

Inabo however agrees that the Senate is not the appropriate arena for Masang to bring up the issue on her alleged housing allowance.

“The red herring fallacy employed by the PPUC Board has to be dealt with in a different arena (in the court maybe) but not in the Senate,” Inabo said.

Inabo said her Committee on Public Utilities, Communications and Housing Development would continue its probe on the PPUC issue.

She said in an interview that the Senate would do its part as required by law.  Inabo said that PPUC has until next week to submit financial documents that have been requested from them. So far, PPUC has not provided any documents to her committee.

Inabo said the probe would be focusing on Masang’s conflict of interest and non-compliance with the Tariff Schedule.

She said the Senate’s job is to conduct their investigation and if  found that there is a violation, send  a resolution to the President asking him to remove  Chairman  Masang from the PPUC  board.

The Senate, she said can also send all the documents to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution of any violation of law following the conclusion of their probe. [/restrict]