Baldoza: Tupas gave me envelope with cash 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo 

A RETIRED judge and president of the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 board finally admitted receiving money from Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. to favor an independent power producer.

Mateo Baldoza confirmed his first statement over Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo last May 5 that Tupas handed him an envelope filled with cash during a meeting with officials of Applied Research Technologies Phils. (Artech).

Baldoza made the admission during the hearing yesterday conducted by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) investigation committee on the alleged bribery issue involving Artech and Ileco 3 officials.

The hearing was held at the Ileco 1 main office in Tigbauan, Iloilo Tuesday to look into allegations that Artech handed cash to the directors to approve the 25-year power supply agreement the firm offered to the cooperative.

Baldoza spilled the beans on Artech and Tupas during the examination conducted by Atty. Ramil Naciongayo, counsel for the complainants Gerardo P. Panes and Evelyn P. Peñaflor who called for the NEA probe.

According to Baldoza, he and the Ileco 3 directors were called to a meeting with Artech officials led by president Reynaldo Uy at Tupas’ mansion in MV Hechanova, Jaro, Iloilo City last April 17, 2009.

Baldoza said Tupas called him inside a room of the mansion where the latter gave him an envelope while telling him to help Artech.

The retired judge later learned that the envelope contained P75,000 cash when he got home from the meeting.

He also confirmed that he received another envelope with P75,000 cash after their board meeting April 21, the day they approved the power supply deal with Artech.

In sum, Baldoza received P150,000 cash from Artech. Uy and Tupas had denied Baldoza’s allegations.

Aksyon Radyo anchorman Joel Tormon also testified before the AdCom relative to his May 5 interview with Baldoza.

Tormon said he confirmed the authenticity of the transcript of his interview with Baldoza which was admitted as evidence in the NEA probe.

Tormon said Baldoza’s statements during the NEA hearing were the same information and sequence of events the latter told during the May 5 interview with Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo.

A day after his interview with Tormon, Baldoza modified his statement in a local newspaper saying a woman employee of Artech gave the cash-laden envelope during the meeting at Tupas’ mansion.

But he again hinted that the governor gave him the cash-filled envelope when he faced the probe conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

In his affidavit submitted to the NEA AdCom last August, Baldoza said he received the cash-filled envelope from someone during the meeting at Tupas’s mansion.

Baldoza said that after eating at Tupas’s house, he was called inside the living room where that “someone” thrust the envelope in his hand.