Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman of the Board Sam Masang said on Wednesday that only President Tommy Remengesau Jr. can ask him to resign, this is in response to a call for him to resign amid the ongoing Senate investigation for possible conflict of interest.
“The only one person that can tell me to resign is the president,” Masang said in an interview after the national leadership meeting.
He also stressed he continues to have the support of the PPUC board members and staff.
Senator John Skebong, with the support of the majority of senators, earlier asked Masang to step down from his post while Senator Rukebai Inabo said that her committee, Committee on Public Utilities, Communications and Housing Development has been tasked to facilitate his removal as chair of the PPUC board.
He said however that PPUC welcomes the investigation being conducted by Inabo’s and will be providing the requested documents at the end of the week.
Masang also said he will attend the planned oversight hearing the committee has scheduled for next week.
He, however, said that he will not answer direct questions about his company’s dealings with PPUC. He said those questions should be directed to PPUC.
Masang said any contract that Palau Telecoms have with PPUC has been made prior to his confirmation as a PPUC board member.
He also appealed to Sen. Inabo to refrain using her position to go after him, adding that Inabo’s personal issue against him should be set aside during the ongoing PPUC investigation.
Masang has earlier accused Inabo of illegally obtaining funds from PPUC to pay for her personal loans and threatened to file a lawsuit against her if she fails to return the funds.
On Wednesday Masang said he will send a letter to Inabo reminding her to return the questioned housing allowance funds.
President Remengesau meanwhile asked PPUC and Senate to set aside dispute and instead work out differences to pass the proposed subsidy to help pay the Koror-Airai Sanitation Project loan.
In a national leadership meeting on Wednesday, Remengesau urged lawmakers to approve the proposal earmarking $1.6 million to PPUC for loan payment.
The important perspective is that we have a loan to pay, that is not debatable,” Remengesau said.
He said without the PPUC subsidy, the burden of paying for the loan will be passed on to PPUC costumers.
“Whatever the arguments or debates are, we should not let people suffer, “ Remengesau said.
House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Jonathan Isechal assured the president during the national leadership of support in the subsidy’s passage.
Meanwhile, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Mark Rudimch said the Senate is “aware of its responsibility” and will look into the proposal and take appropriate actions. (Bernadette H. Carreon/Contributor)[/restrict]