May 25, 2024

■  Rimaliza A. Opiña 

The Benguet Electric Cooperative is preparing to file legal action against former directors of the utility for recovery of excess per diems and disallowed cash advances.

In a recent press conference, Beneco Task Force chair Steve Cating said they have directed their legal officer to prepare a complaint against former directors who have not settled their obligations to the company, despite issuance of demand letters.

“It will reach the courts eventually,” Cating said but no court petition will be filed while they await decision of the Court of Appeals where directors who were ordered by the National Electrification Administration to return some amounts, appealed.

Beneco Institutional Services Department Manager Delmar Cariño told the Midland Courier at the sidelines of the press conference that while some former directors have publicly declared that they will return the amount asked by the NEA, these were not made formal by informing the Beneco or the NEA.

“On record, no one returned any amount,” Cariño said. The demand letters were based on the 2018 to 2020 audit of the NEA, which disallowed over P600 million of excess per diems and cash advances.

The Midland Courier tried to get a copy of these audit reports but citing data privacy, records have remained confidential.

Meanwhile, Task Force Beneco is set to orient new BOD about their duties, responsibilities, renumeration.

Cariño said reforms have been introduced in the Beneco to avoid a repeat of adverse audit findings against the utility company.

Foremost is the disbursement of corporate social responsibility funds. The Institutional Services Department now handles the CSR funds and its use is limited to education, youth welfare, sports, among others.

The election of the second batch of directors will be in September.