Probe on pork barrel funds of ex-president, NEA-designated managers to Albay power coop included

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Power consumers opposes privatization of Albay Electric Cooperative. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Power consumers opposes privatization of Albay Electric Cooperative. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Elmer James Bandol

LEGAZPI CITY, 13Sept2013 (BicolToday.com) – Proponents on how to bail out Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) from its financial dilemma have accepted to investigate plunderers including designated managers by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) that handled part of the P700 million B-CARE funds from the pork barrel of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2007.

Lawyers Don Fernandez and Bart Rayco, advocates of Private Sector Participation (PSP) and Coop to Coop (C2C) respectively have promised to ALECO consumers that investigation be made behind the problems besetting the lone power facility which would be under private management of San Miguel Power Holdings (SMEC) or coop management of Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) following referendum on Sept. 14, 2013.

“Actually we talked about investigation before with the National Bureau of Investigation, but we need additional time, naka concentrate lang kaya kami salaban versus privatization”, according to the text message of C2C spokesman,VirgilioPerdigon, when asked by this writer if the help of the NBI is needed.

Espousing for ALECO private take-over, Fernandez also stated that people behind the “mismanagement” of the coop must be prosecuted, however, expressed fear that “documents are missing” which will hinder the intention to answer for accountability of former NEA designated managers and personnel whom he charged that “culture of impunity”  has long existed.

According to Perdigon, his group requested to NEA “documents” before but handed only last February 2013 the NEA audit of ALECO for 2010. B-CARE funds allocated from the pork barrel of former President Arroyo in 2007 is much to be desired, he added.

The onslaught of typhoon Reming in 2006 could have been a “blessing in disguise” for ALECO because former President Arroyo has created what she termed as Bicol Calamity Assistance & Rehabilitation Fund and form part of which was given to the NEA in 2007, while former congressman and Arroyo’s financial adviser, Joey S. Salceda became governor helped in the easy access of the funds intended for the rehabilitation of the lines, transformers, and posts destroyed by the said typhoon.

Rehabilitation operations was handled by NEA designated Project Supervisor Jose Zamora, and assisted by ExequielRieza, who became the provincial information officer for more than six years. [BicolToday.com]

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