House body urged to cite NEA-BOA, Palace exec in contempt

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BAGUIO CITY – Member-consumer-owners (MCOs) of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) called on the members of the House Committee on Energy to cite the members of the National Electrification Administration – Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA), personnel of the NEA, former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Rafael and all agents acting in their behalf in contempt for their alleged failure to respect the status quo order handed down by the committee on the contested BENECO leadership.

Last August 19, 2021, the House Committee ordered the NEA-BOA and all agents acting on their behalf to observe a status quo on the position of general manager of BENECO until such time that it will come out with its findings and recommendations that will be contained in its committee report on the reported over reach of the NEA-BOA on its powers in the appointment of general managers of electric cooperatives ilk what happened in the case of BENECO.

However, on August 27, 2021, NEA personnel arrived in the city and served NEA-BOA RB Resolution No. 2021-71 which appointed an unqualified and not recommended applicant to the position of BENECO general manager where the Rafael camp interpreted the same as immediate assumption into office even without the presence of the prescribed performance management contract that will be signed between her and the BENECO board as a collegial body.

The MCOs claimed that the blatant defiance of the NEA-BOA, Rafael and agents acting on their behalf of the status quo order is a direct affront to the members of the House Committee being a co-equal branch exercising oversight powers which warrants the involved individuals to be cited for contempt and for them to be meted the appropriate penalties for their violation.

Further, the MCOs pointed out that the enforcement of the questionable NEA-BOA resolution created confusion among them on whom to recognize as general manager, Engr. Melchor S. Licoben, the duly appointed general manager by virtue of BENECO Board Resolution No. 2020-090 approved way back on April 21, 2020 or Rafael, who failed to meet the 5-year experience as head of a successful electric cooperative or similar business enterprise and the trainings required for the said position aside from not being recommended for appointment by the University of the Philippines College of Psychology.

According to them, the House Committee must impose its oversight powers over the concerned government agencies to compel the responsible officers to adhere to the outstanding status quo order and instill stability on BENECO’s leadership.

The MCOs commended the BENECO board for standing by their position in rejecting the questionable NEA-BOA resolution and instead issued the required PMC to the deserving applicant, Engr. Licoben, who had been with the electric cooperative for over 30 years and was part of the team that brought BENECO to the highest pedestal of the country’s power industry.

BENECO is one of the country’s top performing electric cooperatives having garnered 27 of the 66 corporate and individual awards that were at stake during the recently concluded annual Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative General Membership Meeting (PGMM).

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