BAGUIO CITY – The Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) are the representatives of the member-consumer-owners (MCOs) in deciding on issues and concerns that result to the growth and development of the electric cooperative, thus, the decision of the board to reject Resolution No. 2021-71 of the National Electrification Administration–Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) to appoint an outsider as the general manager should be respected, a veteran lawyer stated here recently.
Lawyer Jose Molintas pointed out that the members of the board had been elected by the MCOs to represent them in the policy-making body for them to decide on issues and concerns that will be for the greater advantage of the electric cooperative, including the decision on whom to appoint to head the same.
He argued that the NEA-BOA committed overreach of its powers when it recommended to the BENECO board only one of the two applicants to be the next general manager which grossly violated NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 which mandated the said body to submit to the board the list of all qualified applicants, including the results of the background investigation and other pertinent documents, for the perusal of the board and the appointment of the qualified and recommended applicant for the position.
Molintas claimed that the decision of the NEA-BOA for the sensitive position is already contrary to the will of the MCOs which was reflected in the decision of the board to appoint Engr. Melchor S. Licoben as the general manager of the electric cooperative way back in April 2020.
The lawyer explained that MCOs do not want a repeat of what happened in the past when former BENECO general manager Dr. Peter Cosalan was dislodged by the NEA from his position but he filed charges of illegal dismissal against those responsible for his unjust dismissal and BENECO consumers were compelled to pay for his awarded legal fees.
According to him, the present impasse in the BENECO leadership is similar to what happened in the past because of the evident intervention by the NEA-BOA, thus, MCOs do not want that the claims of the party dislodged from a position pursuant to the BENECO board decision will be paid by them, thus, MCOs should be united in fighting for what is right and just and the qualified individual for the said position.
Further, the status quo that is being demanded is for the observance of the BENECO leadership before the enforcement of the questionable NEA-BOA resolution and not what the other camp is pressing that it should be the new leadership that will be recognized and it will be up to the previous management that will contest the matter in the proper forum.
Molintas stated that before the prevailing impasse, BENECO was being managed smoothly by the duly appointed general manager as decided upon by the board, but when the NEA-BOA enforced its decision amidst the status quo handed down by the House committee on energy, things started to go out of bounce although employees did the right thing in continuously respecting the duly constituted leadership.
He urged MCOs to remain vigilant on what is happening in BENECO so that they will be able to join forces to protect the greater interest of the electric cooperative. By HENT