BAGUIO CITY – The House committee on energy uncovered numerous violations committed by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) screening committee and the Board of Administrators (BOA) in the selection of the general manager of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) that caused an uproar among member-consumer-owners.
Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative Association (PHILRECA) Party-list Rep. Presly de Jesus, who was tasked by House committee on energy chairman Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo to preside over the recent hearing, expressed his disappointment that the 5-man NEA-BOA was not familiar with the pertinent provisions of NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 that prescribed the guidelines in the hiring, screening, termination and suspension of general manager that resulted to the present impasse in the BENECO leadership currently held by Engr. Melchor S. Licoben.
He stated that the BOA virtually took the law into their own hands in deciding to endorse to the BENECO Board of Directors only the applicant that garnered the highest score in the final interview for possible appointment for the position of general manager of the electric cooperative contrary to the provisions of the NEA Memorandum that provided that the list of applicants who passed the BOA interview, including the information and results of the background investigation, shall be transmitted to the board of the electric cooperative for perusal and the appointment of the general manager.
Because of the evident inconsistencies in the answers of the BOA to the questions raised by the congressmen, the House committee requested the NEA screening committee and the BOA to submit to the body all the pertinent documents, including the minutes of the meetings that were conducted for the said purpose, on the processes that were undertaken for study and appropriate action.
Among the violations committed by the NEA screening committee and the BOA included that one applicant was still given a passing mark even if the same did not meet the prescribed 5-year experience, track record and appurtenant trainings and seminars; the BOA decided to exclude the deputy administrators in the conduct of the final interview; the BOA had its own interpretation of the NEA Memorandum that caused the body to endorse only the applicant that garnered the highest score during the final interview and the fact that there were no clear parameters in the interpretation of the answers of the applicants to the questions of the members.
Further, the committee also discovered that it was the first time that the BOA endorsed the applicant that garnered the highest score during the final interview to the BENECO board for appointment as general manager aside from the fact that it is the first time that deputy administrators were excluded by the BOA during the conduct of the final interview, unlike in other vacancies of the position of general manager in other electric cooperatives where they were allowed to attend the final interview of the applicants.
De Jesus claimed that the House committee will conduct another hearing on the aforesaid controversy once the same will not be immediately addressed by the NEA and the BOA until such time that the concerned government agencies will comply with the prescribed guidelines in the selection of general manager of the electric cooperative. By Hent