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Gov’t counsel favors NEA Board’s endorsement of lady lawyer to head Benguet power coop

Photo Courtesy of Atty. Marie Rafael FB

BAGUIO CITY (August 18, 2021)—- The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) sees the action of the National Electrification Administration -Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) in endorsing Atty. Marie Rafael as General Manager (GM) of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) as legitimate being part of its supervisory powers.

In a letter reply to the inquiry of NEA through its Corporate Board Secretary Atty. Mayflor C. Abuedo, Government Corporate Counsel Elpidio Vega stressed that the rejection of the Beneco Board of Directors (BOD) of NEA’s endorsement of Atty. Rafael as the candidate with a higher score in the final interview for the GM of the electric cooperative (EC) could not stand. “We wish to remind you that there is a recent pending Certiorari and/or Prohibition case filed by five Members-Consumers-Owners (MCOs) for prohibition against the Beneco BOD fr acting favorably on NEA-BOA RB Resolution No. 2021-47 and for nullification of the same against the NEA-BOA,” Vega explained.

OGCC stressed that the endorsement of BOA of the candidate with higher points is proper as it acted within its power and authority. Vega cited the provision of RA 10531 stating that the BOA has the authority “to exercise such powers and do such things as maybe necessary to carry out the businesses and purposes for which the NEA was established or which from time to time may be declared by the Board of Administrators necessary, useful, incidental, or auxillary to accomplish such purpose”.

He further reiterated that under its Charter, NEA is authorized and empowered to supervise the management and mamagement of all ECs.

Vega also cited the rule that “to give all applicants vying for the position a fair and just chance in the selection process, an incumbent OIC-GM who applied for the position of GM shall relinquish his/her designation as OIC. Assistant manager, Engr. Melchor Licoben, who also applied for the position, has since taken over as Beneco officer-in-charge. “The non-compliance of Licoben based on the statement of Vega exposed his lack of integrity and probity which had an impact on his fitness to be Beneco’s GM,” added the OGCC.

The final appointment of Beneco’s GM suceeding the late Engr. Gerardo Versoza who had died several months ago, has dragged into an internal power struggle.

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