House Committee On Energy Admonishes NEA on BENECO Issue

The General Managership row of BENECO is far from over, and has now reached the courts and the Congress is now in tow.

Recently, the House Committee on Energy unanimously passed a resolution compelling the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to strictly adhere with NEA Memo No. 2017-035 on the selection of General Managers of electric cooperatives particularly BENECO.

The resolution states that the position of BENECO GM is to be maintained on status quo until all issues has been resolved. “In the selection of GMs, the NEA has issued NEA Memoranda Nos. 2017-035 and 2018-004, rules that have the force and effect of the law as declared by the Supreme Court in various jurisprudence,” the resolution states.

In passing the resolution, the house committee on energy states that the Board of Administrators of NEA should revoke their Resolution No. 2021-47 “considering that there was no vacancy in the position of GM of BENECO.”

The house committee also admonished the NEA BOA for their “repeated ultra vires acts, specifically in its selection of GM of BENECO.”

The resolution also made mention that Atty. Ana Maria Paz B. Rafael, on August 20 sent an e-mail to Energy Chairperson Juan Miguel M. Arroyo trying to invoke her right to privacy by not submitting to the Committee the copy of her IQ Test, EQ Test, and essay exam which she took part of as part of NEA’s selection process. On that same day however, Engr. Melchor Licoben, Acting GM of BENECO, in an e-mail, gave consent for the release of his IQ, EQ, and essay exams.

Memorandum No. 2017-035

NEA’s Memorandum No. 2017-035 dated October 24,2017 sets the agency’s policy on the selection, hiring, suspension and termination for General Managers of electric cooperatives. It specifies the qualification standards for a GM which include academic preparation, work experience, personality and character.

In case of GM vacancy, the memo states that on the request of the Board of Directors of an electric cooperative or upon determination of NEA, an advertisement will be placed in one national and one provincial newspaper. If the electric company BOD choose to recommend a Department Manager to fill in the vacant GM position, an advertisement shall also be made. An incumbent OIC-GM who applied for the GM position shall relinquish his/her designation as OIC.

Salient qualifications for a GM applicant

An applicant should have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following: Engineering, Business Administration/Finance Management, Accountancy or Behavioral Science. On work experience requirement, the Memo states that a candidate should have at least 5 years experience with proven track records in the effective management of a successful electric utility-related  business enterprise.


All applicants shall pass through written examination to be administered by NEA to measure IQ, EQ, computer literacy, knowledge of industry and management perspectives. Pre-qualified candidates shall proceed for personal interview  before the selection committee which shall  choose the best qualified applicants who then undergo background investigation. Applicants with no derogatory records will be called for final interview before the NEA BOA. Item 2.h of the Memorandum states “The list of applicants who passed the NEA Board final interview… shall then be transmitted to the EC (electric cooperative) Board for perusal and selection.” From the list of names forwarded by NEA, the EC BOD shall select the GM of their choice.

The camp of Engineer Licoben is of the stand that the Memo 2017-035 has been violated. The House Committee on Energy says the same.

The camp of Atty. Rafael on the other hand filed charges of contempt, insubordination, and violation of NEA Rules against the 6 BENECO BODs who voted against her, BOD President Atty. Esteban Somngi, Engr. Melchor Licoben, and Atty. Delmar Carino./The Junction News Team


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