Ex-NIA head, Tabuk hydro owner charged

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The former Administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the owner and developer of a minihydro power plant in the city were formally charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged abuse and excess of authority and violation of pertinent provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act based on the circumstances that resulted to the up of the minihydro power plant.

In  sworn affidavit, John Dulawen A. Ya-o, who was issued the special power of attorney by irrigators, farmers and small land owners to file the aforesaid case, identified those charged as former NIA Administrator Antonio S. Nangel and Engr. Daniel Peckley, Jr., owner of DPJ Engineers and Consultants, Inc., a DTI-registered firm based in the city.

Earlier, Nangel representing the NIA and Peckley representing his company entered into a memorandum of agreement on April 2, 2012 for the put up of the Bulanao minihydro electric power plant along the main irrigation canal of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS).

However, the complainant alleged that the aforesaid agreement is an alleged spurious document because the former NIA Administrator has no authority to grant rights bestowed by Congress for him to grant rights to Engr. Peckley, Jr. to establish an adjunct structure to a government infrastructure for private commercial purpose contrary to the goals and objectives of the same for agricultural development programs.

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The complainant alleged that one of the complaints, Turn-out Service Area Group – 1, had not been reportedly consulted on the subject matter of the agreement between the two parties as mandated under the provisions of pertinent laws, rules and regulations. Nangel was not authorized by the NIA board to enter into an agreement with Peckle for the implementation of the minihydro project within a government property nor the minihydro project was approved by the same board

Further, Ya-o emphasized that Nangel was not authorized by the NIA board to enter into an agreement with Peckley for the implementation of the minihydro project within its property at the UCRIS nor the minihydro project was approved by the same board which is empowered to do so as the same was not referred to the board for proper action in the first place.

According to the compliant, actual ocular inspection was conducted on the site of the matter being complained of by the irrigators association was honest and truthful as the original intake opening for the Tabuk service canal drop fall was allegedly closed and sealed and a larger intake opening was constructed by Peckley along the main canal near the original intake opening that was closed to suck in a larger volume of irrigation water supply for the operation of the minihydro power plant below. As a consequence, the irrigation service network beyond the enlarged opening gate was decreased of irrigation water supply and caused inundations at the lower farmlands beyond the minihydro power plant.

The fact-finding team ascertained the effect of the disruption of irrigation water utilization beyond the intake opening of the minihydro power plant where there was low level water level or canal dry bottoms showed the effect of water irrigation diverted to the power plant.

The complainant claimed that the utilization of the water irrigation supply was allegedly cleverly scheduled at present so as not to disrupt the volume of irrigation water used for the minihydro plant and that the members of the team were bound to believe that the shuffling of irrigation water utilization has connection to the offer of discount of billing obligations by the Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative (KAELCO) to maintain the volume of electricity production of the minihydro power plant to be sold to the same.

“We exhausted efforts to understand how the memorandum of agreement between the former NIA Administrator Engr. Nangel and Engr. Peckley was processed and was discretely provided with a summary of information.  The information contained in the summary of information is in the nature of national security and interest that has to be accorded serious attention,” Ya-o stressed in his complaint affidavit filed before the Ombudsman.

The complainant prayed to the Ombudsman for the appreciation of the facts and circumstances and documentary records and establish criminal offenses and administrative liability against Nangel and Peckley, Jr. for abuse and excess of authority in relation to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Further, he prayed that the minihydro power plant attached to the UCRIS will be determined to be an illegal structure that is using a government structure for private commercial purposes and not related to agricultural development programs which is the main objective for the establishment of the UCRIS.

Herald Express tried to reach the concerned parties for their side on the aforesaid allegations by the complainant but such efforts were in vain although the publication remains open for the concerned parties to ventilate their uses at any given time.

By Hent

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