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ILOILO CITY — The National Electrification Administration (NEA) yesterday took over the operations of an electric cooperative in Iloilo province following allegations of bribery over a power supply agreement with an independent power producer.

Edita Bueno, NEA administrator, designated Danny Sedoyo of the NEA Institutional Department and Eddie Adlao of the Management Accounts Group as project supervisors of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3).

Messrs. Sedoyo and Adlao reported to the Ileco 3 office in the town of Sara yesterday morning. They then designated Antonio Lazarraga as OIC-general manager of the cooperative. Mr. Lazarraga also heads Ileco 3’s technical services department.

They were designated to oversee Ileco 3’s operations upon recommendation of NEA legal department chief Omar Mayo.

Mr. Mayo headed the NEA fact-finding team that initially investigated the bribery claims surrounding the new 25-year deal between Ileco 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. or Artech.

NEA Deputy Administrator Edgardo Piamonte said the two supervisors will handle Ileco 3 operations, particularly disbursement of funds and signing of contracts.

“They will act as overseers of the cooperative while we investigate other issues such as the power supply deal. Every transaction of the cooperative must pass scrutiny of NEA through the supervisors,” he said.

The seven-man board of directors of Ileco 3 will only act as advisory board and will have no power to decide on the cooperative’s affairs.

Mr. Lazarraga said it was business as usual at Ileco 3 and there would be no movement of personnel in the meantime.

In a report dated June 5, Mr. Mayo said there was “undue haste, aggravated by bribery, in the signing of the [new power deal], totally disregarding the findings of the very own technical personnel of Ileco 3.”

The fact-finding team based its findings and recommendations on the statements of Mateo Baldoza, Ileco 3 board president, who said he had received P150,000 from a politician and the power supplier.

Mr. Baldoza, a retired trial court judge, said he first received P75,000 from Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas on April 17 and another P75,000 from a female Artech employee on April 21.

Mr. Tupas and Artech President Reynaldo Uy have denied the alleged bribery. Mr. Tupas said he only wanted to assure Ileco 3’s power supply as its contract with the National Power Corp. will expire next year.

Mr. Baldoza later modified his statement, saying a female Artech worker gave him money on April 17 at Mr. Tupas’s house.

Mr. Mayo has recommended the rescission of the Ileco 3-Artechpower supply deal “for being grossly disadvantageous and prejudicial to its interests, as well as that of its consumers-members.” — Francis Allan L. Angelo

July 2020

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