June 24, 2024

Employees of the Benguet Electric Cooperative have filed an administrative case against police officers in relation to the forcible entry at the Beneco main office along South Drive in October last year.
In a complaint filed before the Police Regional Office-Cordillera Regional Internal Affairs Service, 19 employees of Beneco charged PRO-Cor Director B/Gen. Ronald Lee, Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) Commander Col. Joshua Alejandro, Baguio City Police Director Col. Glenn Lonogan, and several John Does of the RMFB for serious irregularities in the performance of duties and gross incompetence.
In their complaint, the employees said the police officers are guilty of serious irregularities when they acted as bodyguards for Atty. Omar Mayo of the National Electrification Administration and his group who forcibly opened the main office of Beneco on Oct.18, 2021, causing pilferages, damage, and thievery on the electric coop’s properties.
Mayo was designated as Beneco project supervisor and was tasked to serve the now expired 90-day preventive suspension order against the seven board of directors and General Manager Melchor Licoben.
The employees also said Lee, Alejandro, and Lonogan are guilty of gross incompetence for letting Mayo and his group act outside the scope of the suspension order, “which shows their manifest lack of ability and fitness for the satisfactory performance of their police duties.”
They said Mayo and his group, shielded by darkness, and who were then escorted and guarded by still 24 unidentified respondent members of the RMFB and being physically, bodily, and tangibly led, controlled, and commanded at the time by Lonogan stormed the Beneco head office, forcibly opened the main door entrance, and forced their way inside the building.
While inside the building, the employees alleged Mayo and his group freely and without any opposition from any person forcibly opened the Management Information Communications System office, dismantled and took the CCTV network video recorder (NVR) and a recorder installed inside the office as well as other CCTV NVRs.
The complainants alleged Mayo and his group also blocked the main entrance and teller area of Beneco using chairs and tried to forcibly open the Institutional Services Department and Non-Network Services Department offices as well as the SCADA control rooms that are restricted from unauthorized and untrained persons because it is where the operation of electrification of Baguio and Benguet mainly rely.
“These were all done by Mayo and his group in the presence and plain sight of 24 still unidentified respondent members of the RMFB and being physically, bodily, and tangibly led, controlled, and commanded at the time by Lonogan,” they said.
They added that while the NEA had asked the assistance of the police to ensure peace and order in the implementation of the suspension order, nowhere did it state that Mayo and his group can forcibly open and dismantle Beneco’s equipment.
“As law enforcement agents who are supposed to be apolitical, they could have prevented Mayo from forcibly entering Beneco. They could have at least prevented or arrested Mayo from dismantling, removing, and destroying the Beneco equipment. They could have at least prevented or arrested Mayo for wandering inside and unlawfully taking Beneco’s properties and effects,” the complainants said.
“Surely, these acts are outside the scope of the suspension order. These acts are criminal in nature which the respondents are bound to suppress,” the complaint added. – Jane B. Cadalig