BAGUIO CITY (September 7, 2021)—Defiant officials of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) are being charged with indirect contempt, insubordination and violation of the rules of the National Electrification Administration (NEA). If found guilty, they will undergo preventive suspension and worst, even dismissal.
Lawyer Ana Marie Paz Rafael, who was appointed Beneco General Manager by the NEA sued Board of Directors (BOD) Jeffred Acop, Peter Busaing, Mike Maspil, Jonathan Obar, Josephine Tuling, Robert Valentin and BOD President Atty. Esteban Somngi before the administrative committee of the NEA for continuing to defy its August 27 order installing thw former as the new General Manager of the cooperative. Rafael also included in her complaint Engr. Melchor Licuben in his capacity as the cooperative’s Assistant General Manager and Beneco department Atty. Delmar Cariño.
Somngi himself received the NEA order also enjoining the Beneco BOD to accomplish a one year Performance Management Contract (PMC) for Rafael and submit such within 10 days to complete NEA required procedures.
But on August 31, 2021, the six BOD members rejected NEA’s ruling and went on to appoint Engr. Licoben defying the electric cooperative regulatory body in a special session.
Rafael complained that the defiance of the BOD to NEA’s directive is even considered “ultra vires” or beyond their authority. “The same constitutes contempt which the NEA is empowered to declare against the respondent members of the board,” she said.
Rafael also accused Licoben for continually discharging the functions of a GM despite receiving a cease and desist order (CDO) from NEAS as “a gross act of insubordination.”
The complainant also claimed before NEA that the acts of the BOD and Licoben that were encouraged by Atty. Cariño, who were even supposed to implement NEA directives Nd rulings, blatantly violated NEA rules.
She also prayed that while the proceedings of the complaint is undergoing, the persons being charged will be put under preventive suspension, and when found guilty, shall be dismissed from Beneco.
Artemio A. Dumlao