Beneco MCOs press charges vs NEA execs

>> Monday, July 11, 2022

Support to Licoben, 7 BODs reaffirmed over GM mess 

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Close to 2,000 member-consumer-owners of the Benguet Electric Cooperative approved 16 resolutions here June 4 calling on national government agencies and appointive officials to stop derailing operations of Beneco.
    MCOs reaffirmed their support to Beneco general manager engineer Melchor S. Licoben, board chairman lawyer Esteban A. Somngi and six other board of directors to include Fr. Jonathan C. Obar, Peter D. Busaing, Mike M. Maspil, Jeffred S. Acop, Josephine B. Tuling and Robert C. Valentin.
    Other resolutions made during the Beneco’s 41st annual regular general assembly meeting at the Benguet Sports Complex here June 11, called for filing of charges against top officials of the National Electrification Administration for “appointing” former Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael to head Beneco.
    MCOs said the NEA cannot appoint officers of electric cooperatives since the government agency’s function was merely “supervisory” over power utility firms.    
    MCOs said Rafael’s appointment was illegal since it did not conform to rules which even the NEA actually made.
    Rules included a GM must have had managerial experience in a power utility for at least two years, must be an engineer among others.
    Licoben had all the qualifications while Rafael did not.
    Following the botched takeover of Beneco by Rafael’s camp backed by police October last year wherein the power cooperative was retaken by MCOs, a series of cases have been filed by Beneco against Rafael’s camp for withdrawing P58 million from the Landbank under the Beneco account even if the signatories were Licoben and Somngi.
    A case was also filed against LandBank officials who authorized the withdrawal of the P58 million by Rafael’s camp.
    Another case was filed against Philippine National Bank officials for allowing Rafael’s camp to also withdraw more than P1 million from the Beneco account whose signatories were also under Licoben and Somngi. 
    The Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on the case filed by Licoben and board of directors which should have settled the leadership dispute.
    This, as MCOs also agreed that their share capital running to around P70 million be used by Beneco to run its operations.
    A general assembly was supposed to be held at Mankayan. Benguet on May 29 but a temporary restraining order was issued by a Baguio City judge.
    This made MCOs turn the affair into an information, education meeting where members were informed on developments happening within Beneco.
    Continuation of the ARGAM was set for yesterday at the Baguio Athletic Bowl but details could not be known at presstime.
    All top officials of local government units of Baguio and Benguet earlier made resolutions expressing support to incumbent management of Beneco headed by Licoben and Somngi.
    During the La Trinidad ARGAM, Marietta H. Hwang, regional director of the Cooperative Development Authority aired her support to the Beneco through a message.
    Beneco is now registered under the CDA.
    Sen. Win Gatchallian, also aired his live message via Zoom in support of Beneco under GM Licoben, board president Somngi and the six aforesaid directors.
    Baguio mayor Benjamin earlier told Rafael to “back off” from affairs of Beneco.
    Among other matters tacked during the Argam, MCOs also reiterated that Rafael and other top government officials like those of NEA should derailing operations of Beneco.
    Rafael had reportedly set up an office at Barangay Dontogan but MCOs said such office did not represent the legitimate Beneco.  -- AD      


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