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Transact with legitimate Beneco executives, according to the public.

MANILA, Philippines — The public has been encouraged to deal solely with the Benguet Electric Cooperative’s genuine and authorized officials (Beneco).

In a joint statement released Wednesday, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) warned Beneco interim general manager Melchor Licoben and seven members of the electric cooperative’s board of directors about the existing suspension order.

Licoben, as well as suspended Beneco board members Esteban Somngi, Jeffred Acop, Mike Maspil, Peter Busaing, Jonathan Obar, Josephine Tuling, and Robert Valentin, are not authorized to represent the electric cooperative, according to the statement.

The suspended Beneco officials are also barred from “signing Beneco checks, disbursing its funds for any reason, hiring or appointing personnel, or calling any Annual General Membership Assembly, Annual Regular General Assembly Meeting/s, or Information Education Campaign.”

According to the advice signed by Undersecretaries Emmanuel Juaneza (NEA administrator) and Joseph Encabo, Beneco general manager Ana Maria Paz Rafael has been “allowed and empowered to act for and on behalf of Beneco” (CDA chairperson).

According to Juaneza and Encabo, “The undersigned Administrator of the National Electrification Administration and Chairman of the Cooperative Development Authority today give notice that Atty. Ana Maria Paz B. Rafael is the General Manager of Benguet Electric Cooperative.”

For “any matters relevant to Beneco,” the public is invited to contact Beneco board president Luke Gomeyac, treasurer Rocky Aliping, secretary Enrique Moresto, and member James Aclopen.

“As a result, the public is strongly encouraged to recognize and transact exclusively with Atty. Anna Maria Paz B. Rafael and the remainder of the Board of Directors who served their suspension,” according to the statement. “Let us stand up for the rule of law and uphold it.”

The NEA’s choice of Rafael as the qualified electric cooperative’s general manager caused a leadership stalemate at Beneco.

Rafael’s appointment nullified Beneco’s board of directors’ designation of Licoben as general manager, succeeding Gerardo Versoza, who stepped down in April 2020.
The NEA supported Rafael’s appointment as general manager of Beneco by emphasizing the legal foundation for the selection process.

Rafael was chosen by the NEA Board of Administrators for receiving the highest score in the final interview.

According to NEA Board Resolution No. 2021-47, Rafael received 94 percent, whereas Licoben received only 82.75 percent.

Rafael’s appointment as general manager was approved by the Board on July 29, 2021, based on the legal advice provided by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

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