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PSALM refutes SMC claim about non-billing of nearly P24B payables

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STATE-LED Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has refuted the claim of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that it has not been billed by the agency for a subsidiary’s supposed P23.94 billion payables, saying it has proof showing receipt of demand letters.

PSALM, a company created by law to privatize the government’s energy assets and take over the debts of the state power company, said it had transmitted monthly invoices to SMC’s South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC).

“Clearly, there is no truth to SPPC’s claim that it only learned about its payables to PSALM through statements released to the media. PSALM’s monthly billings, demand letters and court pleadings all prove that SPPC is aware, or ought to be aware, of its payables to PSALM,” said Irene Joy Besido-Garcia, PSALM president and chief executive officer, in a statement on Friday.

PSALM said monthly billings sent to SPPC as the Ilijan plant’s independent power producer administrator reflect the amounts due to PSALM. It said SPPC’s underpayments of these billings accumulated and led to PSALM’s claim of P23.94 billion as of Dec. 31, 2019.

“SPPC cannot feign ignorance of its payables to PSALM because it received all the monthly billings,” it said.

PSALM said that aside from the monthly billings, it had sent many demand letters to SPPC over the past several years. It submitted samples of the letters sent to SPPC when it was asked about the matter in the House of Representatives during the Feb. 26, 2020 committee hearing.

In particular, it cited demand letters sent to SPPC on Aug. 9, 2019, Sept. 3, 2018, and May 9, 2018.

“There were earlier letters sent to SPPC demanding payment. The specific amounts claimed in these letters were varying because of the different cut-off dates for SPPC’s accountabilities,” it said.

PSALM said in filed in court late last year its amended answer with counterclaim against SPPC amounting to P23,677,232,704 as of Nov. 30, 2019. It said SPPC was given a copy of the amended answer with counterclaim. — Victor V. Saulon





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