Beneco employee faces raps over misused funds

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Thursday, November 22, 2012


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Luz Balisong, department manager for audit of Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) is facing charges for allegedly violating the code of ethics of Beneco.

The complainant, Emiliano Gayo, filed charges on Balisong for allegedly misappropriating Beneco funds and property as well as being charged with her alleged failure to remit money, collection and turn over materials and equipment; with acts of dishonesty which cause to prejudice the cooperative.

Gayo filed the complaint with the cooperative’s board of directors which was formally received by Beneco on October 1, 2012.

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Gayo in his complaint said: “in view of the gravity of the charges, I request the respondent to be placed under preventive suspension for a period of 30 days.” 

Gayo is also asking for a full blown investigation be conducted so the case maybe decided on merit.

The complaint also stated Balisong allegedly drew a cash advance amounting to P573,858.66 in March 2008 purposely for the payment of capital gains tax and other taxes for the Bonuan Condo Unit. “However she only paid P100,539.16 per her liquidation report dated October 16, 2008, with the remaining balance of P473,319.50 classified as ‘refundable’, but remained in custody for more than 9 months.” 

Balisong filed a liquidation report dated January 14, 2009 which she approved. It showed a return of P400,000 by a deposit to the Beneco account dated December 24, 2008, while the P73,319.50 balance was also returned. 

Gayo said Balisong on the following month allegedly requested again for another P644,059.80 for the same purpose (the payment of capital gains tax and other taxes for the Bonuan Condo Unit, which again, she herself approved). 

Gayo said the irregularities of the cash advances were pointed out in a letter of Beneco bookkeeper Benelita Linmipao to Beneco general manager Gerardo Versoza in September 2010.  

Linmipao allegedly stated, in her letter years ago, that Balisong has unliquidated cash advances amounting to P735,428.66 as of September 18, 2008. 

Gayo said Balisong’s cash advances were drawn when the general manager was on travel and pre signed checks were used; she approved her own liquidations and approved her own request for cash advances.

Gayo said Balisong’s husband, Rocky, who was a former Beneco director, is also accountable as the latter also has unpaid balance amounting P230,755.61 from a total amount of P315,465.89 borrowed in 2003.

Gayo said Balisong also has alleged unpaid accounts amounting to over P128,314.33 as of April 2012.   

Balisong is also being questioned for her alleged numerous meetings at expensive restaurants in the city with the Human Resource personnel, Landbank internal auditors, complaining customers, and members of the media; as well as discrepancies in marking in the official receipts which were previously marked Mr. Balisong but was changed to Mrs. Balisong, leaving doubt her husband Rocky, is using the privileges of the Beneco auditor. 

Versoza has called the attention of Balisong regarding the change in signatories (Mr. Balisong to Mrs. Balisong) as seen in notations in the Statement of accounts at Cafe Melodin totaling over P4,000, calling the auditor for clarifications. 

Meals made at the Cafe Melodin Camp John Hay Manor, Baguio Palace Hotel as well as Jollibee Foods Corporation, Gayo pointed out the meals also included takeout orders as well as drive through purchases and alcohol bottles. 

The garnishing of P18 million by La Trinidad is also blamed to Balisong according to the complaint. “She has not taken the required, prompt, appropriate action to question the assessment of business taxes against Beneco, resulting to the garnishment o fits bank deposits, Beneco was jeopardized and suffered damages because of the garnished deposits were frozen and cannot be used for operations.” 

Balisong’s alleged violations of the labor code include the SSS assessment of Beneco to pay P938,700 and penalties amounting to P483,790.08 for unpaid premiums and contributions of trainees.

The procurement of 2009 uniforms of employees are also put to fore with the complaint alleging the supplier, Sigmund Parel, is close to her husband was able to acquire the authority to produce the uniforms despite a lack of credentials and track record. 

Gayo said the uniforms were allegedly not delivered on time, of substandard quality and did not conform to the approved design resulting to lady employees not having uniforms for the entire year of 2009.

Sun.Star contacted general manager Gerardo Versoza for comment as well as a statement from the cooperative, through the GM. The side of Balisong was also sought, but as of this posting Thursday there were no clarifications and permission to conduct interviews.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 23, 2012.

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