BENGUET Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO) urged the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to recall resolutions relating to its leadership to finally resolve the prevailing conflict within the power distributor.  

“The root cause of the issue is when the NEA Board of Administrators appropriated to itself the power to name a general manager through a NEA-BOA Resolution No. 2021-47 and No. 2021-71,” BENECO legal counsel Delmar O. Carino said in a Viber Message to BusinessWorld 

NEA has yet to reply to BusinessWorld’s request for comment. 

In April 2021, the NEA-BOA passed the resolutions, which endorsed the candidate with the highest score in the final interview for the general manager position of BENECO. 

BENECO’s board passed a resolution of its own in May rejecting the NEA decision and upheld a previous motion appointing Melchor S. Licoben as general manager.  

NEA-BOA, however, said this particular act of BENECO was unreasonable given that it already appointed Ana Maria Paz Rafael as the new general manager, based on the April resolutions.    

Senator Sherwin “Win” T. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee, recently called on BENECO and NEA to find a compromise to avert possible power disruptions across Baguio City and the province of Benguet.  

“We told NEA to look into this matter and find a compromise rather than a litigation or a forceful implementation. Residents and business owners alike are worried if there will be any sabotage in the operations of BENECO or if disruptions in their electricity supply will take place in the days to come,” he said during the interpellation on the budget of energy agencies at the Senate.  

Mr. Gatchalian said despite his call for compromise, the Senate energy panel will push through with its planned inquiry into issues hounding BENECO’s leadership.   

Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed by BENECO against a NEA official and several others before the city prosecutor’s office after the takeover of BENECO’s main headquarters on Oct. 18.  

NEA also has a pending case against BENECO in relation to audit findings conducted by a NEA team. — Marielle C. Lucenio