THE National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI 7) has conducted an investigation on the alleged extortion incidents involving linemen of the Visayan Electric Company.

This after the Visayan Electric requested the agency to investigate the matter as ordered to them by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC).

The ERC earlier directed Visayan Electric to conduct a “prompt and thorough investigation of the alleged rampant extortion reports” after gathering reports from the field and in social media concerning allegations that some of their linemen, whether directly working for them or under contract, were extorting money from their clients who lost their power after Typhoon Odette.

Lawyer Rennan Augustus Oliva, NBI 7 director, told SunStar Cebu that their investigation was still ongoing and that he would not give any further details that may jeopardize it.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Office Agnes VST Devanadera said the alleged extortion of money from consumers to expedite the restoration of electricity may have involved either the company’s contractors or volunteers, or both.

Agnes considered such reports as “alarming and need immediate appropriate action.” Within 15 days from receipt of the directive, the company must submit in writing the result of the investigation which should “include actions taken against those involved, if any, and measures put in place to prevent extortion from being committed.” Apart from that, the power distributor was also directed to expedite their power restoration, citing that ERC received that damaged distribution lines was not the cause of the delay but due to the alleged bribery, prioritizing those who offer money.