Cusi demanded to apologize to Verzosa family

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The family of the late Gerardo P. Verzosa demanded Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to issue a public apology for allegedly maligning a defenseless person and to the surviving members of his family during a live streamed interview which caused them sleepless nights and brought back the anguish they experienced when they lost their loved one.

In an interview with Karen Davila, Secretary Cusi tarnished the image of the late Verzosa after he allegedly stated that the cause of his taking his life are the prevailing problems of one of the country’s top performing electric cooperatives.

“Our family is deeply saddened by our blatant failure to tell the truth in the interview. We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms your insensitive, malicious, baseless, unfair, and unethical remarks in trying to put the blame on the very person who took the extra mile to put the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) in the highest pedestal of the country’s power industry over the past three decades. We never thought that an honorable person and a member of the President’s Cabinet will rely on petty and baseless arguments just to mislead the public on the concrete facts and the evident motive in trying to create confusion and disorder in BENECO for you to be able to advance your interest and the interest of your prospective benefactors,” Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House committee on national cultural minorities and indigenous peoples and Verzosa’s brother-in-law, stressed in his letter to Secretary Cusi.

Mangaoang pointed out that their family was dismayed and disappointed in the unbecoming gesture displayed by Cusi as a public servant who should have upheld the truth of the matter instead of banking on pure lies to sow confusion on the BENECO leadership impasse.

The lawmaker reminded Cusi that Verzosa took over the leadership of BENECO in the 1990s when it was still an ailing cooperative and that he was able to build a formidable team, including some members of the present management, and was able to work hard to convert BENECO to what it is today, the benchmark of the operations of all electric cooperatives in the country.

Further, Verzosa retired from BENECO as general manager effective May 1, 2020 and he was cleared of liabilities by no less than the regulating agencies as well as the court that is why he was able to be rewarded of his retirement benefits in full on August 7, 2020 before passing away on September 16, 2020 which is way ahead of the present BENECO leadership impasses.

“We find it illogical for you to conclude that the cause of his taking of his life is due to BENECO being troubled or is related to the prevailing issues confronting BENECO now which the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) under your stewardship actually created. As a responsible government official, you should not be engaged in rumor-mongering and spreading false information that casts doubts on your integrity as the head of the agency,” Mangaoang reminded Cusi in the said letter.

Prior to granting the said interview, the lawmaker stipulated that Secretary Cusi should have first checked on his fact on the real situation on the ground before issuing such damaging and derogatory statements, especially against a defenseless person who is already enjoying his retirement in the great beyond.

According to him, their family does not understand why Secretary Cusi had to resort to maligning a dead person just to be able  to divert the attention of the people and the consumers on the real issues confronting the energy department and its attached agency, the NEA-BOA, on the controversial appointment of the general manager when the BENECO Board of Directors already appointed an equally competent, efficient and reliable replacement of Verzosa even if more than a year had passed since his untimely demise and that their family is still grieving from their loss and such irresponsible and insensitive remarks will not help them in any way to recover from such a tragic incident in their lives for them to move on without him at the helm.

The Mangaoang and Verzosa families are also studying the possibility of taking the appropriate legal action against Secretary Cusi for such senseless, illogical and irresponsible remarks against an icon in public service.

Lastly, Mangaoang disclosed that as a member of the indigenous peoples in the Cordillera, they have an age-old and time-honored practice of ‘inayan’ or the so-called gesture of doing good to our fellow individuals so that they will not encounter rough waters, so to speak, in the journey to success and that they adhere to the said practice up to this time and it is their belief that they are bounded by the same because the person maligned by Secretary Cusi is helpless and defenseless.

Congressman Mangaoang reminded Secretary Cusi that they are taking the cudgels for the late Verzosa in the said case and to send a clear message to him to be circumspect in issuing such derogatory remarks to the very person who painstakingly elevated BENECO’s status as one of the country’s top performing electric cooperatives. By HENT

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