In a statement, the DoJ said it believes that the nomination is “valid and lawful,” citing that his position as independent director in two private companies does not fall within the proscription of Section 8 of the Department of Energy Act of 1992.
Under the law, an officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private company or enterprise primarily engaged in the energy industry could not be appointed as Energy secretary within two years from the end of engagement.
Mr. Lotilla had been an independent director of Aboitiz Power Corp. and ACE Enexor, Inc.
The DoJ said subsequent laws on corporations as well as the two companies’ by-laws do not consider an independent director as an officer by functions and responsibilities.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. named Mr. Lotilla as the next Energy chief on Tuesday.
He previously served as head of the DoE under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2005 to 2007. He was also president of the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.
Mr. Marcos earlier said the role of the next Energy Secretary will be crucial as the Philippines continuously faces surging fuel and energy prices. — John Victor D. Ordoñez