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BAGUIO CITY – The Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) rejected Resolution No. 2021-71 of the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) that appointed former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Paz Rafael as general manager of the electric cooperative because this contrary to the pertinent provisions of NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 and its previous decision on the matter rendered more than a year ago.
With a vote of 6 members in favor of the rejection and 4 members against, the board also rejected the signing of the performance management contract of the NEA-BOA’s appointee which was attached to the questioned resolution.
Instead, the board reiterated the validity of Resolution No. 2020-090 that appointed Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as general manager of the electric cooperative that was approved way back on April 21, 2020 pursuant to one of the modes in the selection of general managers of electric cooperatives contained under NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 which were never officially acted upon by the NEA.
The board was compelled to advance their scheduled meeting purposely to deliberate on the questionable NEA-BOA resolution after tension erupted at the BENECO headquarters over the past several days when the Rafael camp insisted on assuming office because it was their interpretation that the assailed appointment took effect last August 27, 2021 when the document was officially received by BENECO management and the board.
The controversy even caused the declaration of the NEA-BOA members and Rafael as ‘persona non grata’ in BENECO that triggered the brewing conflict between the camp of the NEA-BOA appointee and the appointee of the BENECO board.
On the other hand, a press release posted on social media on August 31, 2021, “ lawyers Rocky Balisong, Willybroth Managtag, Joel Pasiwen, Jingboy Atonen, Thomas Padaco, Patrick Astudillo, Isagani Mamaril, Wilson Abaten, Anne Lucille Ruiz all firmly stated that the appointment of the NEA-BOA for Atty. Ana Maria Paz Rafael as General Manager of Beneco is clear and regular in its face and that no other action is required or otherwise needed before the appointment becomes effective.”
“The appointment is effective immediately and does not need any action from the BOD to confirm,” Rafael also said in the press release.
Earlier, Baguio and Benguet officials requested the feuding parties to the position of BENECO general manager to respect the status quo order issued by the House committee on energy pending the issuance of its committee report on the ongoing investigation of the alleged over reach of the NEA-BOA of its powers in the appointment of general managers of electric cooperatives. By HENT