What is next at Beneco?
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
I am anti-establishment. That is, as far as Beneco is concerned. Riling the establishment, any establishment for that matter, will pave the entry of a new administration. “Magpakita tayo ng gilas,” is always the battle cry of new entrants. How long will that last? That is the big question.
Perhaps, in keeping with this, Atty Marie Paz Rafael had been going around far flung areas being served by Beneco to consult with member-consumers and local officials. Surely, she must have asked about their problems regarding Beneco’s service. I cannot recall any Beneco official doing that before.
And there are things that make my blood boil. One is when I hear or see that Beneco headquarters at South Drive, a multi-million structure not really needed for power distribution. Along with that are of course the huge loans Beneco had taken and which we are paying as member consumers.
Then there was the list of alleged loans of Beneco officials taken from the cooperative. They are in the millions of pesos. When did Beneco become a bank? The cost of those amounts (cost of money) could have been plowed back to the member-consumers in terms of lower electric bills.
Such supposed loans, have been made public through Facebook, and yet after so many weeks we have yet to hear of any public denial by the Beneco officials named there. Is that an admission against interest? Why does not Beneco come clean to the public and disclose the monetary obligations of its officials to the cooperative?
While I have no proofs about Beneco officials getting Beneco contracts with the use of dummies, just the rumors make my blood pressure go sky-high. For those would be huge conflicts of interest.
How about the allegation that it has become a fiefdom?
These are why I want to rile the establishment.
Right after the order of suspension of the Beneco officials was handed down, I called up a lawyer friend what he thinks about the next Beneco episode. He said, personally, I think those Benco officials will be fired.
I sort of agree with him. The law appears to be in favor of Atty. Marie Paz Rafael. Unless those laws are repealed or declared null and void, the wind is on her back. But as another lawyer friend observed, both sides have some legal points they can hang on to. Well, that is the beauty of legal matters. Any issue can actually be justified both ways.
It made me recall about a judge somewhere in Burma right after the 2nd World War. He got rich by accepting bribes from both parties to a case and then he decides it based on the merits. From his decisions nobody could say that he was corrupt.
But back to the Beneco case. We are lucky that we don’t have to go through sleepless nights as the protagonists might be going through. The important thing as far as we are concerned is the electricity supply must not be disturbed