The Resolution That Limited BENECO’s Choice


Browsing over the social media in the internet I finally came upon the Resolution from the national Electrification Administration (NEA) Board of Administrators that basically emasculated the Board of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) in its authority, as provided by law, to choose who will sit down as the next General Manager of the local electric cooperative (EC).

The NEA Board of Administrators Resolution Numbered 2021-47 states, “Pursuant to Section 4(s) of the Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 269, as amended; and, Section 5 of Republic Act (R.A) No. 10531 or the Powers, Functions and Privileges of the National Electrification Administration, the NEA is authorized and empowered to exercise such powers and do such things as may be necessary to carry out the business and purposes for which the NEA was established, or which from time to time may be declared by the Board of Administrators as necessary, useful, incidental or
auxiliary to accomplish such purposes; and Section 5 of P.D. No. 269, all of the powers of the NEA shall be vested in and exercised by the Board of Administrators.”

That was the rationale in the approval by the Board of Administrators (BOA) of the resolution endorsing the candidate with the higher score in the final interview for the position of general manager (GM) of Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO).

The resolution further provided that since in the final interview Engineer Mel Licoben had an average score of 82.75% while Atty. Rafael-Banaag had a higher score of 94.00% then the latter will be the applicant indorsed to the BENECO Board for the position of GM.

But as astutely pointed out by Atty. Delmar Cariño, BENECO’s Legal Division Manager, during a forum held by the Baguio City Council last Monday, the NEA-BOA Resolution violated NEA Memorandum No. 2017-35 by deciding that only the applicant with the higher score during the final interview will be endorsed to the BENECO Board for its consideration.

The NEA Memorandum 2017-35 par. (h) num. (2) Item III provides that, “The list of applicants who passed the NEA Board final interview, with necessary information
and results of the Background Investigation, shall then be transmitted to the EC Board for perusal and selection.” (italics supplied for emphasis)

With the above, the motive behind the NEA-BOA Resolution is put to the fore since it appears that the decision to indorse only the applicant with the higher score to the EC Board is in direct
contravention with the dictate of the NEA Memorandum that those who passed the final interview shall be indorsed to the EC Board for their perusal and selection.

As admitted by the NEA-BOA Resolution there are two applicants who passed the final interview and therefore both of them should have been indorsed to the EC Board.

With only one applicant to consider for the position of general manager the EC Board was in fact deprived of its opportunity to properly select and choose the next GM of BENECO. What is worse is that by virtue of the NE-BOA Resolution the rights and qualifications of the other applicant (Engr. Licoben) to the said position has been trampled upon and an injustice wrought upon his person.

We certainly wonder how the NEA-BOA can now subscribe to its own policy of promoting transparency and preventing complications that may arise in the conduct of procedures with respect to the selection, hiring and termination of a General Manager as provided in the rationale of NEA Memorandum 2017-035.