You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘National Electrification Administration’ tag.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) board president Mateo Baldoza, a former court judge, has no credibility, according to Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr.

This was Tupas’ reaction to Baldoza’s admission that the governor gave him an envelope with cash inside to favor independent power producer, Applied Research Technologies Phils. Inc., (Artech).

The alleged bribery, Baldoza told the National Electrification Administration investigating committee, happened April 17 during a meeting with Artech officials at Tupas’ mansion in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Tupas said in an interview with Bombo Radyo that Baldoza has no credibility because he kept changing his statements.

“At first he claimed that I gave him money then denied it. Now, he is saying that I did it. He always changes his story. He has no more credibility,” Tupas said.

The governor said Baldoza is the only person claiming that there was bribery in the Ileco 3-Artech deal while the other directors have nothing to say.

Tupas said Baldoza is being used by persons who want to besmirch his name and reputation as the 2010 election period nears.

“The election fever is here and these are just efforts by some groups to malign me. I pity Baldoza,” he said.

Tupas had admitted summoning Ileco 3 and Artech officials to a meeting in his house to discuss the looming power crisis in the cooperative’s franchise area.

But the governor denied handing out money to the Ileco 3 directors.

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.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) continues to oversee the operations of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 despite the reported pressures from a politician to reinstate the board of directors to their full functions.

In a phone interview, Ed Adlao, NEA project supervisor tasked to administer Ileco 3 management, said he continues to discharge his functions until the NEA Administration Committee (AdCom) has concluded its probe on the alleged bribery of the cooperative’s board of directors.

NEA “deactivated” the Ileco 3 board headed by retired judge Mateo Baldoza when the latter alleged that he received a total of P150,000 cash from Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. and officials of Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

The alleged bribe was meant to convince Ileco 3 directors to approve and sign a 25-year power supply agreement with Artech using diesel and biomass power plants.

NEA has recommended the rescission of the PSA and the conduct of a formal investigation on the alleged bribery.

With the NEA takeover of Ileco 3, the board of directors was reduced to an “advisory council” and was stripped of any power to approve or sign documents relative to Ileco 3 operations and policies.

The takeover is also meant to prevent the directors from influencing the investigation or tampering with documents needed in the AdCom probe.

“I was designated here to cool things down and pave the way for the investigation on the issues at hand,” Adlao said.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (5th district, Iloilo) is pressuring NEA to restore the Ileco board to their normal status. 

Rep. Tupas is the son of Gov. Tupas.

Adlao said he did not receive any call from Tupas or any politician to pressure him to reinstall the board.

Adlao said he was supposed to act as overseer for three months since July “but the AdCom has yet to finish the investigation so I am still the project supervisor.”

“The directors themselves asked if the takeover will end because it’s already three months since we took over. Until the AdCom concludes the investigation, we will continue to oversee Ileco 3,” Adlao said.

Adlao said the AdCom has received the position papers of the complainants and the Ileco 3 board of directors.

“The AdCom has scheduled a public hearing in the coming days as part of their investigation,” Adlao added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Commission on Audit (CoA) wants five electric cooperatives in Panay to refund part of excess subsidy fund from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) amounting to P20 million.

In the 2008 CoA annual audit report on NEA finances, the audit agency found that Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (Ileco) 1, 2 and 3, Capiz Electric Cooperative (Capelco) and Aklan Electric Cooperative (Akelco) have yet to return their excess subsidy from NEA.

The CoA report showed that Ileco 1 has P1.354 million in excess subsidy, Ileco 2 – P132,208 and Ileco 3 – P504,883, Capelco – P4.143 million, and Akelco – P124,999.

The excess subsidy of the five cooperatives is just part of the almost P20 million surplus subsidy from NEA.

The other electric cooperatives who have yet to return their excess subsidy are Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative – P11.79 million, Maguindanao Electric Cooperative – P1.005 million and South Cotabato Electric Cooperative – P935,901.

The subsidy to the electric cooperatives is part of NEA’s mandate to implement the rural electrification program on an “area-coverage” basis.

The national government provides NEA with subsidy funds which are given to ECs for the electrification of depressed, low income, remote or isolated barangays, puroks or localities.

The fund will also finance the rehabilitation of distribution lines and systems damaged by calamities.

The ECs are required to return the unused subsidy funds or request to use savings or balance and interest that accrued to the fund in activities related to the electrification project.

CoA recommended in its audit report that NEA must require the said electric cooperatives (EC) to return the excess subsidy fund.

The audit body also recommended that future agreements between NEA and the ECs must provide timeline for the cooperatives to request realignment of excess subsidy funds after which the excess amount should be refunded. 

NEA has sent letters to the concerned ECs requiring them to submit board resolutions for realignment of the excess funds to other related projects or return the excess money.

So far, Ileco 1 and 2 have submitted their respective board resolutions on their request for realignments and are awaiting approval by NEA.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) ordered the board of directors of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) to justify why they should not be preventively suspended.

The NEA Administrative Committee issued the directive to the Ileco 3 board in a show cause order issued Friday.

The Ileco 3 board headed by former Regional Trial Court judge Mateo Baldoza is under investigation for the alleged bribery in the power supply agreement between the cooperative and Applied Research Technologies Philippines Inc. (Artech).

Last week, NEA gave the Ileco 3 board 10 days to explain the alleged bribery unearthed by the fact-finding team led by Atty. Omar Mayo of the NEA Legal Department.

The fact-finding team recommended the preventive suspension of the board of directors pending the formal investigation on the bribery issue.

NEA had deactivated the board and assigned Eddie Adlao as project supervisor to oversee Ileco 3 operations while the probe is ongoing.

Baldoza revealed in an interview with Aksyon Radyo last May 5 that he received P75,000 from Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at the governor’s house.

Baldoza also claimed receiving another P75,000 from an Artech employee after the approval and signing of the PSA April 21 in a hotel in Iloilo City.

Tupas had denied bribing the Ileco 3 board even as he defended the power supply deal as necessary to ensure ample electricity in the 5th district and portions of the 4th district.

The NEA fact-finding team found out that the PSA was over-contracted and will burden Ileco 3 consumers in the next 25 years.

The NEA investigation was triggered by complaints from two Ileco 3 consumers and the Ileco 3 management team.

Baldoza said he will stand by his claims as regards the alleged bribery when he submits his explanation to NEA.

http://www.bworldonline.com/BW070309/content.php?id=043

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

Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) has virtually stripped the board of directors of Ileco 3 of all the powers to run the cooperative.

Effective yesterday, Danny Sedoyo of the NEA Institutional Department and Eddie Adlao of the Management Accounts Group took over the board’s functions in Ileco 3.

Sedoyo and Adlao were designated as project supervisors of Ileco 3 following allegations of bribery in the power supply agreement (PSA) between the cooperative and an independent power producer.

NEA Administrator Edita Bueno, through the two supervisors, also designated Engr. Antonio Lazarraga as OIC-general manager of the cooperative.

Lazarraga also heads Ileco 3’s Technical Services Department.

Sedoyo and Adlao reported to Ileco 3 office in Sara, Iloilo yesterday morning and met the management team.

The supervisors were designated to oversee Ileco 3 operations upon recommendation of NEA Legal Department chief Omar Mayo. 

Mayo headed the NEA fact-finding team which initially probed the alleged bribery in the 25-year PSA between Ileco 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc (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 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,” Mr. Piamonte said.

Starting Thursday, only Adlao and Lazarraga can sign checks and disburse Ileco 3 funds. The board of directors will only act advisory board and will have no power to decide on the cooperative’s affairs.

In an interview with Aksyon Radyo, Lazarraga said it will be business as usual at Ileco 3 and there will be no movement of personnel for the meantime.

Mayo said in his report dated June 5, 2009 that there was “undue haste, aggravated by bribery, in the signing of the said PSA, 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 alleged that he received P150,000 from a politician and ARTECH.

Baldoza, a retired trial court judge, said he first received P75,000 from Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas on April 17, 2009 and another P75,000 from a female ARTECH employee on April 21, 2009.

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

Baldoza later modified his statement saying a female ARTECH worker gave him the money on April 17 at Tupas’ house.

The former judge lately went back to his initial statement after facing the National Bureau of Investigation which is also probing the alleged bribery.

Rene Arandilla, Ileco 3 director, claimed in his sworn affidavit that he saw and counted the money which Baldoza received last April 21, the day the supply deal was approved and signed.

Mayo also recommended the conduct of a formal investigation on the alleged bribery based on the notarized complaint of two Ileco 3 consumers, Gerardo P. Panes and Evelyn P. Peñaflor. 

He also recommended that the board of directors be preventively suspended pending the probe.

Piamonte said the NEA Administration Committee headed by Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes will convene to order the investigation by the NEA Legal Department.  

Mayo recommended the rescission of the Ileco 3-ARTECH power supply deal “for being grossly disadvantageous and prejudicial to its interests, as well as that of its consumers-members.”

Domingo Beltran, ARTECH vice president, said they will sue NEA and Ileco 3 if the power supply deal is rescinded.

Arandilla said they will follow NEA orders and wait for the agency’s action and moves on the alleged bribery.

“The supervisors will only be around for 100 days until the issue has been settled. We will follow whatever NEA wants,” Arandilla said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo 

TWO managing supervisors from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) arrived at Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) head office yesterday to start overseeing the cooperative’s operations.

The supervisors, Engr. Danny Sedoyo and Ed Adlao, were tasked to oversee Ileco 3 following the recommendation of a NEA fact finding team that investigated the power supply agreement (PSA) with Applied Research Technologies Philippines Inc. (Artech).

The designation of project supervisors was one of the recommendations of Atty. Omar Mayo, NEA Legal Department chief, who headed the fact-finding team.

Sources from Ileco 3 and NEA said the supervisors will start their tasks today by reviewing transactions and monitoring the cooperative’s operations.

The NEA supervisors will also attend the regular meeting of the Ileco 3 board of directors Saturday to present a letter ordering the “deactivation” of the board, the sources said.

“Once the board is deactivated, it will only act as an advisory body and will have no power to decide on policies and transactions of the cooperative,” an Ileco 3 source said.   

The NEA also ordered the start of a formal investigation on the alleged bribery that attended the approval and signing of the Artech-Ileco 3 power supply deal.

The NEA administration committee (AdCom) will lead the investigation that will make the Ileco 3 board explain its action prior to the approval of the deal.

The AdCom failed to convene and act on Mayo’s recommendation because Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes was out of the country. Reyes is a member of the NEA board of administrators.

Former Judge Mateo Baldoza, Ileco 3 board president, said in an interview with Aksyon Radyo last May 5 that he received P75,000 from Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at the governor’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City.

He later modified his statements saying a female Artech worker gave the money at Tupas’ house.

Baldoza said he received another P75,000 cash from an Artech employee after the approval and signing of the 25-year PSA with Artech last April 21 in Iloilo City.

The NEA fact-finding team said the PSA must be rescinded due to its “grossly disadvantageous and prejudicial” provisions.

The NEA probers also found out that bribery may have taken place prior to the signing of the contract.

The finding was based on the sworn affidavit of Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla and Baldoza’s radio interview with Askyon Radyo.

Arandilla claimed in his sworn affidavit that he saw and counted the money that Baldoza received on April 21 at Fine Rock Hotel.

While Baldoza changed his tune on who gave him money at Tupas’s house, his recantation “cannot obliterate the fact of bribery” in the deal.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

DESPITE threats of suspension, the management team of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) welcomes any move by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to take over the cooperative.

Engr. Antonio Lazarraga, Ileco 3 Technical Services Division, said they have been asking NEA to take control of the cooperative since the bribery-tainted power supply agreement (PSA) with Applied Research Technologies Philippines Inc. (Artech) was exposed.

Lazarraga made the comparative report and simulation showing that Artech’s generation rate is higher compared to other independent power producers investing in Panay.

The management team headed by Dory Jane Canones, Finance Services Department manager, had asked the NEA last in a letter May 11 to investigate the PSA and alleged bribery of Ileco 3 directors.

The management team said they were embarrassed with the scandal rocking the cooperative.

“We will do our share in bringing justice to those that betrayed our member-consumers. We will bring to your attention the pronouncements and the calls of alls sectors in our communities. We will try to rebuild the trust and confidence of everyone that took years to earn. Please help us find justice for Ileco 3,” the team said.

The NEA fact-finding team headed by Legal Department head Omar Mayo recommended the rescission of the Ileco 3-Artech deal because of its “grossly disadvantageous” provisions.

The investigators also recommended the formal investigation and possible preventive suspension of Ileco 3 directors who voted in favor of the 25-year PSA.

Lazarraga said they would rather have the NEA take control of Ileco 3 to protect the interest of member-consumers who also happen to be their families.

He said while they have yet to receive a copy of the investigation report, they already expected NEA to make such recommendations.

“We will continue to work in the cooperative and our services will not be affected by the takeover which we think is the best thing to happen to us,” he added.

The management team will send a position letter to NEA to prove the alleged anomalies that attended the Ileco 3-Artech deal.

A NEA project supervisor is expected to arrive at Ileco 3 today to monitor the cooperative’s transactions. The assignment of the supervisor is also contained in the fact-finding report.

The board of directors launched a crackdown on Ileco 3 workers by imposing a 5-day suspension on a utility and three area managers.

Suspended were utility worker Juanito Buenafe; Cirilo Jerry Pacardo, area manager of Balasan sub-station; Lanie Jane Velasco Barotac Viejo sub-station manager; and Apolojandro Sicad, manager of Ileco 3 main office in Sara, Iloilo.

The four were suspended for purportedly disobeying orders from the Ileco 3 board.

But employees said it may have something to do with their refusal to dismantle streamers asking for the resignation of the Ileco 3 board.

The streamers have been hanging in Ileco 3 offices since the alleged bribery was exposed.

The four area managers also signed the May 11 letter of management team asking for NEA to investigate the Artech contract.

In their letter, the team hit the board of directors for their “vindictiveness, encroachment on otherwise purely management prerogatives and high-handed ways in dealing with coop employees who are perceived to be against them.”   

Even before the Ileco 3-Artech deal was exposed, there has been friction between the directors and the management team when former Ileco 3 General Manager Gil Altamira was forced to quit his job last year.

The Ileco 3 board, with clearance from NEA, formed a crisis management team (CMT) until a new general manager is appointed.

The CMT is alternately headed by three department managers on a monthly basis.

The board later appointed Aida Lamigo as permanent officer-in-charge of the cooperative which did not sit well with the management team.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo 

A NATIONAL Electrification Administration (NEA) fact-finding team found provisions in the power supply agreement (PSA) between Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco 3) and an independent power producer (IPP) disadvantageous to the coop and its member-consumers.

The findings are included in the report of the fact-finding team headed by Atty. Omar Mayo, NEA legal department head.

The team was tasked to investigate the alleged bribery and disadvantageous provisions of the 25-year PSA between Ileco 3 and Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

For one, the team said that the 15-MVA substation that Artech pledged to donate to Ileco 3 after 25 years should not be considered a gift or deal sweetener. Artech made the promise as embodied in Sections 9.2, 15.1, 15.2 and 15.3 of the PSA. 

“Artech has to install and provide the 15 MVA substation, as this is necessary and indispensable in its operation to deliver electric power to Ileco 3 and not for the use of Ileco 3 itself. This will only be turned-over to Ileco 3 after 25 years free of charge but already fully depreciated by then,” the report said.

Artech also did not offer prompt payment discount (PPD) to Ileco 3, unlike the offer of renewable energy producer Asea One which signed a power supply contract with the cooperative.

“It is likewise worthy to note that all the other IPPs included the PPD in their respective offer sheets,” it said.

IMPOSSIBLE

The report also noticed that the projections of the contract on Ileco 3’s power demand “is highly improbable, if not totally impossible.”

In the first three years of the PSA, the minimum energy off-take (MEOT), or quantity of electricity Ileco 3 will buy from Artech, is pegged at 55.750 million kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The quantity will then increase by 51% to 84.480 million kWh in the 4th year and 92.4 million (66%) in the 5th year of the contract.

There is also an over contract of demand, the NEA report said.

The report said the Ileco 3 board of directors failed to evaluate Section 5.8 of the PSA which provides that the cooperative will pay the MEOT as if such quantity has been consumed.  

“The Board Directors failed to evaluate the above provisions since these are very disadvantageous to the Ileco 3 which resulted to over-contract of demand. The Minimum Off-Take provided in the contract is much higher when compared to the forecasted kWh based on the ICPM (Integrated Computerized Planning Model) of Ileco 3,” the report added.

If the PSA takes effect, consumers will pay P55.663 million a year for 8.383 million kWh of electricity.

From 2015 until the contract ends, Ileco 3 consumers will pay P181,349,960 for 29.47 million kWh of excess power.

“Unless there shall be many industrial and commercial consumers who will apply in Ileco 3, the above contracted energy cannot be consumed by the coop. The coop will have to pay the contracted energy whether consumed or not and pass it on to the consumers. In the end, it will be the member-consumers who will suffer,” the NEA report said.

The fact-finding team’s report validated The Daily Guardian’s analysis of the PSA, particularly the over-contracted demand and other onerous provisions.

Mayo recommended that Ileco 3 rescind the PSA because of its disadvantageous provisions.

The fact-finding team also recommended a formal investigation on the complaints of two Ileco 3 consumers and possible preventive suspension of Ileco 3 directors who voted for the contract.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara Yap

 

A TEAM of investigators from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) is already in Tuesday to start the probe on the alleged bribery of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 directors and the cooperative’s supply agreement with a power producer.

 

The investigators arrived after the Ileco 3 management team wrote sent a letter to NEA administrator Edita Bueno last week seeking an investigation on the 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

The management team also asked NEA to preventively suspend the board of directors headed by former judge Mateo Baldoza pending the investigation.

 

The NEA investigators arrived yesterday while the day the Sangguniang Panlalawigan was conducting a fact-finding investigation on the issue.

 

Bueno confirmed in a text message to The Daily Guardian that they sent investigators to look into the complaint of the Ileco 3 management team.

 

Baldoza claimed last May 5 that Governor Niel Tupas Sr. gave him an envelope filled with P75,000 cash during a meeting with Artech officials April 17 at the governor’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

Another envelope containing P75,000 cash was given to Baldoza by a female Artech worker during the board’s special meeting in Iloilo City April 21, the same day the PSA was approved and signed.

 

But Baldoza later modified his allegation saying it was not Tupas who gave him the first envelope but a female employee of Artech headed by Engr. Reynaldo Uy.

 

Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla confirmed in his sworn affidavit that Baldoza showed him the cash-filled envelope the latter received April 21.

 

Dr. Raul Banias, Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas, said Baldoza told him about the pressures and bribe he received in exchange for the approval of Artech’s proposal.

 

Tupas’ camp denied the bribery in his house even as they blamed politics and business as the motive behind the exposé.

 

The provincial board probe was headed by Board Member Arthur Defensor Jr., committee on investments and economic enterprise chair.

 

As reported earlier, Gov. Tupas did not attend the hearing due to “prior commitments”. Also absent was Artech president Uy who instead sent Domingo Beltran, vice president for marketing and business development.

 

Beltran defended the PSA with Ileco 3 saying it will eventually drive down prices of electricity and give livelihood to consumers. He also denied that their company bribed Ileco 3 directors.

 

Except for Arandilla, the whole Ileco 3 board did not attend the hearing held at the Sara covered gym.

 

Arandilla reiterated his statements in his affidavit the board was summoned to a meeting with Artech officials in Tupas’ house.

 

After the meeting, Arandilla said Baldoza, a former court judge, told him that Tupas personally gave him P75,000 cash during the meeting.

 

Baldoza, who is in Cagayan de Oro City, said he will attend the next hearing if invited by the SP.

 

A brownout hit the covered gym during the investigation which disrupted the proceedings.

 

Ileco 3 employees were also seen wearing black armband in protest of the PSA which is seen to jack up prices of electricity in Ileco 3.

 

Several towns under Ileco 3 franchise presented their respective resolutions asking for the revocation of the PSA. They also urged for a congressional inquiry on the issue.

Ileco 3 management team urges NEA to suspend ‘bribed’ directors

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SAYING they were ashamed with the issues hounding Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3, the management team asked the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to preventively suspend and probe the cooperative’s board of directors (BoD).

 

In a letter to NEA Administrator Edita Bueno dated May 11, 2009, the management team headed by Dory Jane Canones, Finance Services Department manager, asked the agency to investigate the alleged bribery of the BoD for the approval of the 25-year power supply deal with an independent power producer.

 

The alleged bribery happened twice, according to board president and former judge Mateo Baldoza – April 17 at the house of Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and April 21 during their special board meeting in Iloilo City.

 

Baldoza claimed receiving a total of P150,000 although he later retracted his first statement that Tupas gave him P75,000 at the latter’s house in Jaro, Iloilo City when they met with officials of Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech).

 

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas and Ileco 3 director Rene Arandilla confirmed Baldoza’s first statement that the retired judge received money from Tupas and Artech.

 

Pending the investigation of the Ileco 3 board, the management team requested NEA to send a project supervisor and preventively suspend members of the board who were present in Tupas’ house to accept the alleged bribe.

 

Aside from Baldoza, also present in the meeting at the Tupas mansion in Jaro, Iloilo City were BoD vice president Emmanuel Pacardo, secretary Joy Fuentes, treasurer Asur Salcedo and Achilles Pama.

 

Those who did not show up were Arandilla and Vincent Frances Espinosa.

 

The management team said they were humiliated by the scandal that wracked the cooperative and sparked the ire of the consumers over the deal with Artech.

 

They said they were surprised with the indignation displayed by Ileco 3 consumers during a rally at the cooperative’s office in Sara, Iloilo last May 9.

 

“While our employees staged a black protest by wearing black shirts and black band during the coop’s annual general assembly meeting, we were not prepared for the indignation that the consumers showed during that day. We were never so ashamed in our life,” the letter said.

 

  1. The management team also hit the majority of the Ileco 3 board for their “vindictiveness, encroachment on otherwise purely management prerogatives and high-handed ways in dealing with coop employees who are perceived to be against them.”   

 

They also opposed the board’s designation of Aida Lamigo as permanent OIC because of her questionable competence and involvement in the missing P1million in Ileco 3 funds.

 

“We will do our share in bringing justice to those that betrayed our member-consumers. We will bring to your attention the pronouncements and the calls of alls sectors in our communities. We will try to rebuild the trust and confidence of everyone that took years to earn. Please help us find justice for Ileco 3,” the management team said.

 

Those who signed the letter were Ana Maria Bagsit, OIC assistant general manager; Engr. Antonio Lazarraga, Technical Services Department manager; Apolojandro Sicad, Sara Area Office manager; Lanie Velasco, Natividad Area Office OIC; Consorcia Peñaranda, Institutional Services Department manager; Cirilo Jerry Pacardo, Panian (Balasan) Area office OIC; and Engr. Raim Villarias, Ileco 3 Multipurpose Cooperative president.

 

Information from NEA said the board of administrators is deliberating on the management team’s letter before sending a three-man fact finding team to Iloilo.

FOR SALE A consumer holds placards denouncing the Ileco 3 board during an indignation rally in Sara, Iloilo Saturday. (Photo by Tara Yap)

FOR SALE A consumer holds placards denouncing the Ileco 3 board during an indignation rally in Sara, Iloilo Saturday. (Photo by Tara Yap)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) can boot out the entire board of directors of an electric cooperative (EC) if there is proof of their mismanagement and conduct unbecoming.

 

Engr. Wilfred Billena, Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 1 general manager and NEA board member, said NEA’s power to supervise and control ECs is imbued in Presidential Decree No. 1645.

 

Section 10 of the decree empowers NEA “to issue orders, rules and regulations and motu-propio or upon petition of third parties, to conduct investigations, referenda and other similar actions in all matters affecting said electric cooperatives.”

 

If the electric cooperatives fail to comply with NEA edicts after due notice, NEA can “take preventive and/or disciplinary measures including suspension and/or removal and replacement of any or all of the members of the Board of Directors, officers or employees of the cooperative.”

 

In the case of Ileco 3 and its controversial 25-year power supply agreement with Applied Research Technologies Phils., Inc. (Artech), Billena said consumers should file a complaint with NEA.

 

“As soon as we receive the complaint, we will verify it and conduct an investigation to give due process to parties involved,” Billena said.

 

In a text message to The Daily Guardian, NEA Administrator Edita Bueno said they will address the Ileco 3-Artech deal if her office receives a complaint.

 

Ileco 3 board president Mateo Baldoza and member Rene Arandilla questioned the deal saying Artech’s generation charge of P8.56 per kilowatt-hour is expensive compared to the offers of other independent power producers (IPPs) in a bidding conducted by the Panay-Guimaras power consortium.

 

Artech’s offer is seen to jack up Ileco 3’s rate from P6 per kWh to P12 per kWh.

 

Artech did not join the consortium’s bidding and instead made an unsolicited offer to Ileco 3 to put up a diesel-fired power plant and a biomass plant.

 

Baldoza had alleged that he received P75,000 from Governor Niel Tupas Sr. during a meeting with Artech officials in the governor’s house in Jaro April 17.

 

Baldoza also received last April 21 another envelope from an Artech employee with the same amount of money during the Ileco 3 board special meeting in Iloilo City. The Artech deal was approved and signed during the same meeting.  

 

But Baldoza later changed his statement by denying that Tupas handed him the money at the latter’s mansion. He said a female employee of Artech gave the money to him.

 

Tupas had denied Baldoza’s allegations saying he only arranged for the meeting. The governor said he only wants to secure the power requirements of Ileco 3 by inviting more IPPs.

 

Billena said he found it irregular for Ileco 3 to accept Artech’s offer outside a competitive bidding process.

 

“Under the rules of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), procurement of power should be done through competitive bidding unless there are no other choices. The contract between Ileco 3 and Artech will undergo ERC review and approval and I believe the commission will protect the consumers,” Billena said.

 

Billena said the technical services department of the cooperative must first examine the contract to find out if the analyses and assumptions are correct.

 

“The management side is very important in the deliberation of the contract because it will go over the contract on technical matters. The contract might result in oversupply which might burden the consumers,” Billena added.

 

Public hearings and consultations with stakeholders must also be conducted before the cooperative can enter into an agreement.

 

ERC Commissioner Rauf Tan earlier said distribution utilities and cooperatives are responsible for contracting enough and affordable electricity for their consumers.

 

A competitive process must be observed in tapping sources of power, Tan said in an interview with The Daily Guardian.

 

More than 1,000 Ileco 3 consumers trooped to the cooperative’s office in Sara, Iloilo Saturday to call for the revocation of the deal with Artech.

 

Ileco 3 covers the towns of Anilao and Banate in the 4th district and Barotac Viejo, San Rafael, Lemery, Ajuy, Concepcion, Sara, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan and Carles in the 5th district.

 

Dr. Raul Banias, presidential assistant for Western Visayas and former Concepcion mayor, said he will write NEA, ERC and the Department of Energy regarding the Ileco 3-Artech agreement.

 

The local government units under Ileco 3 will also pass their respective resolutions calling for the revocation of the deal.

 

“I am also a consumer and I will be affected if this agreement pushes through. I am disappointed with the Ileco 3 board for its act,” Banias said.

 

Atty. Edison Belloga, Ileco 3 legal counsel, defended the agreement saying only Artech can provide electricity after the EC’s power supply agreement with the National Power Corp. next year.

 

Belloga said Artech’s proposed biomass plant will benefit consumers as it will drive down prices of electricity. The proponent will also establish a sorghum plantation to sustain the plant’s fuel.

 

“The plantation will put to good use idle lands in the 5th district and provide employment to the consumers,” Belloga said.

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 235,494 hits

Top Clicks

  • None

Flickr Photos