Actually Losing by Seemingly Winning

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Activists against privatization of the ALECO barred from entering the premises of a three-star hotel where the opening of bids is being held by the National Electrification Administration (NEA). PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM
Activists against privatization of the ALECO barred from entering the premises of a three-star hotel where the opening of bids is being held by the National Electrification Administration (NEA). PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Virgilio S. Perdigon, Jr.

The worst way to lose is to erroneously think that you won. According to Energy Secretary Jericho L. Petilla, he does not know what to call the Bidder who “won” on August 7. Is it really a winner of in fact a loser?

The awarding of contract to San Miguel Energy Corporation will be done on August 22. The following points must be raised:

1. There was failure of bidding as only one proponent submitted a bid on August 7.

2. SMEC is disqualified on the ground of conflict of interest as defined in the Terms of Reference Section 1 Paragraph 3.3d on Pages 6 and 7.

3. SMEC is disqualified on the ground of lack of experience in power distribution as specified in Section 2 Paragraph 2.4.

4. The referendum or General Assembly to be held on September 14 for choosing between C2C and PSP might be deemed moot and academic by the awarding of contract.

5. SMEC might sue ALECO for breach of contract if C2C wins in the referendum or General Assembly.

6. The By-Laws state that matters pertaining to the operation and management of ALECO shall be decided by the General Assembly. The referendum has no legal basis.

AMSSO will go to court and the streets for any or all of the preceding as basis. We can sue the Interim Board for ILLEGAL AWARDING OF CONTRACT as it did not obtain prior approval by the General Assembly, and in fact for adopting a measure disapproved by the General Assembly on November 30, 2011.

SMEC must realize the very long legal, political and other forms of battle it will face if it continues to pursue PSP. Its motive for dipping its finger into ALECO is the collection of debt amounting to P500 million plus. Since C2C has a very sound process for paying ALECO’s debts, SMEC could have known that there exists in that option a better alternative for recovering its money. BENECO runs ALECO and SMEC still gets its due without an onerous burden to Albayanos. If SMEC has other motives for running ALECO itself, we can think of PROFIT. But that will come at the expense of the poor and toiling masses who, if only Albay’s resources were under good stewardship, could have availed themselves of the benefits of the province’s geothermal energy just as the people of Brunei or Venezuela reap gains from their oil.

So, did SMEC win by obtaining a contract? The company should remember Russia in Afghanistan, or the US in Vietnam and Iraq.

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Engr. Virgilio S. Perdigon, Jr. – Professor, Aquinas University; Spokesperson – Save Rapu-Rapu Alliance and member of ALECO Multi Sectoral Stakeholders Organization (AMSS). [22Aug2013, Legazpi City]

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