Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, October 27, 2006

Overspending execs of Zambales power co-op sacked

CASTILLEJOS, ZAMBALES—The National Electrification Administration on Friday removed the seven-member board of directors of the Zambales Electric Cooperative II (Zameco II) for lavish spending.

Paulino Lopez, the newly appointed project supervisor who will oversee the operations of the cooperative, said Zameco II’s general manager and its rank and file employees were not covered by the reorganization.

“Only the members of the board, including its president, were removed from office,” Lopez said.

In a resolution in December 2004, the NEA ordered Jose Dominguez, Zameco II president, removed from office for lavish spending.

NEA audit reports in 1998 and 2003 found that Dominguez’s mobile phone bills averaged more than P74,000 a month from 1998 to 2002, despite having a company-issued cellular phone whose billings were charged to the cooperative.

The audit reports also showed Dominguez spent more than P500,000 for plane tickets in his various trips.

Dummy firm

The NEA also found that Dominguez awarded a P20-million systems loss reduction project to his dummy company.

Also ordered removed from office were members of the cooperative’s board of directors who received P3.6 million in benefits, allowances and bonuses, which the NEA found to be illegal.

The NEA, however, failed to implement its resolution two years ago after the Zameco II board filed two petitions with the Court of Appeals—one for review and another for certiorari and prohibition.

But the CA, on Oct. 4 this year, denied both petitions for lack of merit, paving the way for the removal of Dominguez and the board members.

The CA also upheld the appointment of Lopez as project supervisor.

Dominguez said the CA decision was not yet final and executory. He said he has 15 days from receipt of the order to file a motion for reconsideration.

In his motion filed on Oct. 18, Dominguez said the NEA has no jurisdiction over the case.

He said the NEA’s “umbilical cord” to the cooperatives “has already been severed by law.” He also said he was denied due process.

Fidel Correa, Zameco II general manager, assured their consumers that there would be no disruption in the delivery of services as a result of the takeover.

Other perks

In its June 25, 1998 audit report, NEA said the Zameco II directors illegally collected 13th month pay, anniversary bonus, midyear and yearend bonuses, medical and clothing allowance, prompt payment discount bonus and separation payments from January 1989 to September 1997. The amount totaled P3.6 million.

The July 24, 2003 audit report, on the other hand, showed that Zameco II had receivables amounting to P23.5 million from the Central Luzon Power Transmission Development Corp. (CLPTDC) and Zambales Power Corp. which, the report said, were dummy corporations of Dominguez.
By Ansbert Joaquin -- Inquirer


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