LEGAZPI CITY — Members of the defunct Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) believes that the P500-million rehabilitation fund the coop received from the national government seven years ago has been misappropriated.
The members who formed the group Aleco Forum has asked the Anti-Graft Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to pursue an investigation and prosecute the culprits.
The group is led by lawyer Oliver Olaybal who sent a leter request to the NBI last week.
According to the forum, the P500 million was sourced from the P10-billion Bicol Calamity Assistance and Rehabilitation Effort fund provided by Malacañang under Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after super typhoon Reming that ravaged the region in September 2006.
It was intended for the rehabilitation of the distribution system of the power cooperative. However, there was no work on system rehab which left Aleco suffering with 24-percent systems loss, is equivalent to P48 million in monthly deficit or P576 million peso deficit eery year.
The amount was allegedly disbursed by then Barangay Captain Jose Zamora of Ubaliw, Polangui, Albay, the group said in the letter.
The Aleco board recommended the appointment of Zamora as coop general manager, but the National Electrification Administration (NEA) denied the request instead appointed him as NEA project supervisor for Aleco. The position was higher than that of the general manager, the Aleco Forum pointed out.
Zamora was not an employee of NEA, which suggests the commission of graft on the part of the appointing authority, for the reason that only NEA officers are to be appointed project supervisor for any distressed electric cooperative, and the appointee must be experienced in running a business the size of Aleco whose annual sales reach P2.4 billion, the group said.
Apart from the alleged fund mess, the Aleco Forum also requested the NBI to conduct probe into the “collusion by officials of NEA and Department of Energy (DOE) in formulating implementing rules and regulations by unlawfully increasing to 11 the two options provided by Republic Act No. 10531 (NEA Reform Act) for the rehabilitation of financially distressed cooperatives like Aleco.”
Under the law, only Congress can amend the law, it stressed, adding that the modified IRR was obviously adopted to pave the way for the entry of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Global Power Holdings Corporation as Aleco subcontractor, because at the time the new law was passed the NEA and DOE officials were already working on their plan to subcontract the franchise operations of the cooperative.
“In doing so, the officials involved possibly violated Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the group said.
To this effect, Aleco is now run by SMC under a “concession agreement” which created on Nov. 14 last year the Aleco Power and Energy Corporation as its subsidiary tasked to handle the cooperative’s operations.
“The award of the franchise operations to SMC Global under the concession agreement, it claimed, is tainted with graft for being disadvantageous to Aleco and the national government, because DOE, NEA and the NEA-designated interim board are not authorized by law to assign the right of Aleco to operate its franchise, because under Republic Act No. 9136 (EPIRA), only Congress is authorized to issue or amend franchises for the distribution of electricity in the Philippines.” (PNA report)