BENECO junks NEA’s endorsement

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BAGUIO CITY – Majority members of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) Board of Directors junked the controversial National electrification Administration (NEA) Board of Administrators (BOA) RB Resolution No. 2021-47 that endorsed the candidate with the highest score in the interview for the position of general manager of the electric cooperative for being null and void from the start.

With a vote of 6 members in favor and 4 members against, the board also reiterated Resolution No. 2020-090 and other related resolutions that appointed Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager vice the late Gerardo P. Verzosa as the body opted to use option 2 as provided under existing rules and regulations because of the existence of qualified insiders for the said coveted position.

The board pointed out that the questioned BOA resolution ensuring one candidate, Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), despite the fact that the other candidate, who happens to be Engr. Licoben, passed in the final interview is indirectly in derogation of the power of electric cooperative board as mandated by its by-laws and NEA Memorandum that were previously issued for the said purpose.

Under the pertinent provisions of NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 and NEA Memorandum No. 2018-004, the power to hire a general manager is solely lodged with the Board of Directors based on the screened qualified applicants that will be submitted to the same by the NEA.

Further, the board argued that there is no clear intention of the BOA to give one applicant for the BENECO board to consider because if that was so, it should have disqualified the other applicant in the person of Engr. Licoben leaving the board with no choice to appoint Atty. Rafael.

Since Engr. Licoben, although garnering a lower average, he is still a candidate which the board may still consider in the appointment of a general manager.

According to the board, BENECO management has been preparing a succession plan as early as 2018 and the same was approved by the NEA where the same will serve as the mechanism to select the next general manager upon the retirement of GM Verzosa. Each of the department managers were given the chance to serve on an officer-in-charge capacity for them to prove themselves to become the next head of office.

The board asserted that it is expressly provided in the guidelines that the selection, hiring and termination of service or suspension of a general managers is one of the most sensitive procedures in an electric cooperative to help in promoting transparency and prevent further complications that may arise from the conduct of such procedures.

The board asserted that the position of general manager was never opened or advertised as there was no vacancy to be considered and that it was never provided with a copy of the application of Atty. Rafael for consideration in its earlier decision to embrace the second option in the appointment of the general manager.

Moreover, the board claimed that the PCOO official never provided the BOA or the BENECO with proof of her separation from the said office prior to her application for the position of BENECO general manager of there was any.

On April 21, 2020, the BENECO board unanimously adopted Resolution No.2020-090 appointing Engr. Licoben as the next general manager of BENECO upon the effectivity of the retirement of GM Verzosa.

Subsequently, the board passed Resolution No. 2020-165 that requested the NEA to confirm the appointment of Engr. Licoben as the general manager of the electric cooperative.

The board emphasized that the aforesaid resolutions are still binding, thus, there was no expression or declaration on the vacancy of the position of general manager, thus, there is no reason to welcome any intent to apply for the said position. By HENT

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