Beneco dares councilman to file suit in court-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, August 10, 2012
AN OFFICIAL of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) challenged a city councilor to bring allegations in court.
Councilor Fred Bagbagen gave a privilege speech berating Beneco in last week’s regular council session.
The councilor, known to be a staunch critic of Beneco, scored its management and Board of Directors for their alleged unmitigated spending sprees to the detriment of their consumers.
Beneco general manager Gerardo Versoza challenged Bagbagen to bring all these allegations in court.
“He could take us to court so we may be able to answer all of these unfounded allegations fairly. And until he is able to come up with strong evidences to back up his accusations against us this is nothing but ‘maagang pamumulitika’ (politics),” Bagbagen said.
Beneco, led by board president Joey Marrero and Versoza, collectively answered all allegations hurled against them, stressing all of their transactions are above-board and pass meticulous bidding and auditing procedures.
Marrero said the Beneco Board of Directors conducts more than the prescribed National Electrification Administration guideline of two monthly meetings because of numerous items to be tackled on the agenda.
He used this argument to answer the accusation of Bagbagen on the excessive per diems received by its board members.
“A whole day is not enough to tackle all items on the agenda and postponing discussion of these matters will only result to a backlog,” Marrero said.
Versoza seconded this and said this practice is common among utility firms. “Even the Baguio Water District Board meets more than twice a month. To think they only cover Baguio City while [Beneco] covers the whole province. We have more concerns to address.”
Both even offered records of minutes of board meetings to show the critical issues discussed.
Directors also addressed questions regarding the handling of their respective District Contingency Fund (DCF).
According to the directors, the DCF was put up to aid the company in its corporate social responsibility. This fund, they said, is used to accommodate requests for school equipment, scholarships, and donations for the sick and elderly.
All projects are endorsed by mayors, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned agencies. They also explained the fund is not in their hands. Checks issued to beneficiaries are personally picked up and are properly documented.
Moreover, Beneco director Rocky Aliping also added they are not covered by the city ordinance prohibiting the posting of donor’s name in materials donated to their district claiming this is one way of showing consumers the board members are doing their job and that funds are used judiciously.
Versoza and the board answered more questions on Bagbagen’s accusations and stressed they have nothing to hide.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 10, 2012.