April 2, 2023

The Department of Energy revoked three of the four renewable hydro energy service contracts (HSCs) granted to Goldlink Global Energy Corp. after establishing that the contract area overlaps with the facilities of the city-owned Asin mini-hydroelectric plants and the company committed serious misrepresentation in pursuing the contracts.

In a seven-page resolution signed Dec. 4 by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, the DOE cancelled HSCs numbered 2014-01-364 for Goldlink’s Sallapan project, 2014-01-365 for Nangalisan and 2013-05-249 in Tadiangan all in Tuba, Benguet.

The ruling favored the Baguio city government which in 2015 sought the annulment of the three HSCs along with that of Goldlink’s Kanggas project numbered 2013-05-248 which however was earlier cleared by the DOE for being outside the Asin hydropower systems.

The city government represented by Atty. IV Isagani Liporada of the City Legal Office in the case contended that the HSCs all covered Asin River from which the city’s three mini-plants source their water and therefore will cause adverse effects on the operation of the existing plants.

It further charged Goldlink of surreptitiously concealing from the DOE the existence of the Asin Plants within the areas subject of its application to obtain the contracts.

Goldlink meanwhile maintained that the HSCs were valid and “separate and distinct” from the Asin plants as it also questioned the legal personality of the city in challenging their contract in view of the fact that the city had no HSC under its own name to operate the Asin plants.

However, the DOE established that the city “possesses legal personality to be a complainant and impugn the subject HSCs considering its legal and economic interests over the Asin Plants.”

The DOE also proved the claim on overlapping facilities and the intent of Goldlink to misrepresent and mislead the department into approving the HSCs.

“The lone weir of Tadiangan HSC (of Goldlink) overlaps with one of the weir sites for Asin Plant 1; the approved contract area for Tadiangan HSC was changed without prior DOE approval as determined from Goldlink’s feasibility study where Goldlink proposed four weirs that overlap with the weirs of the existing Asin Plant 1;

“The awardee Sallapan HSC of Goldlink overlaps with the weirs of Asin Plant 2; and the awarded Nangalisan HSC overlaps with Asin Plant 3.”

The DOE said that when the company was confronted about the possibility of an overlap, Goldlink belied it with the assurance that there is a considerable distance that will make the two facilities “co-exist.”

“Based on these findings, it was confirmed that Goldlink’s representations were made with the sole intent to mislead the DOE. Being among the prospective bidders in the city’s procurement process for the operation of the Asin plants, Goldlink cannot feign ignorance of the possibility of overlapping and we find that having full knowledge of the existence of the Asin plants, Goldlink fell short of the basic and generally accepted tenet in human relations (honesty and good faith), the DOE noted.

“The subject three HSCs are hereby cancelled and revoked, the same being void ab initio having been issued over an area that is not free and open for award under (Republic Act 9513) and in view of Goldlink’s misrepresentation that they can co-exist with the existing Asin hydropower facilities, when in truth and in fact, they overlap and are in conflict with each other,” the DOE said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo