NEA removes Negros coop execs involved in P87-M improper spending

Posted by watchmen
April 24, 2024


In a statement issued during a press conference yesterday, led by Administrator Antonio Almeda, the NEA said its decision dated April 18 is based on the report and recommendation of the Administrative Committee and following a comprehensive audit covering the operations of Noceco based in Kabankalan City from August 1, 2019 to April 30, 2023.

It identified those involved as directors Richard Benedicto, Raymundo Tongson Jr., Reynaldo Bedaure Jr., Eduardo Benjamin Alonso, Rolito Espinosa, John Peter Millan, Elbert Magbato, Rey Ronald Cabalde, Edmund Arceo, Ma. Rama Espinosa, Allan Paul Mirasol, and Jose Emeric Jabagat (deceased).

Also named in the decision were Jonas Discaya and Engineer Ray Bustamante, who previously served as general managers.

They were meted the penalty of removal; accessory penalty of disqualification from reinstatement or reemployment in any electric cooperative and/or to run as candidate for a director position in any electric cooperative; and forfeiture of monetary benefits.

“In summary, Noceco’s board of directors were found to have unduly granted themselves at least P65,534,504.20, representing numerous allowances and benefits,” the NEA decision stated.

Discaya “was found to have been unduly granted and received at least P20,128,907.28, representing improper increases in his salary and per diems as a general manager of Noceco, excess gratuity pay, travel expenses and other benefits.”

“Engineer Bustamante was found to have been unduly granted and received at least P2,127,111, representing undue increase in his salary and per diems as a supposed general manager of Noceco, as well as other unwarranted benefits,” it added.

According to the NEA, the Noceco board of directors blatantly disregarded the NEA rules and guidelines when they appointed Bustamante after the retirement of Discaya.

“In sum, the concerned directors, together with former general manager Jonas Discaya, admitted to being aware of the NEA’s regulatory jurisdiction over electric cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority, such as Noceco. Nevertheless, they also admit the fact that they chose to disregard the same and continued to unilaterally and unduly grant themselves numerous monetary benefits,” NEA said.

Bustamante was first issued a 90-day suspension order in October last year, personally enforced by Almeda, who named Domingo Santiago as project supervisor and acting general manager.

He was again suspended until April 8, after which the NEA ordered his removal from his post in its latest decision. (PNA)


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