• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday said there is nothing wrong for him, or other local government executives, to express their support for the Joint Venture Agreement between the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and Primelectric Holdings Inc.
“Don’t look at us only as public officials, we are also consumers,” Lacson said, stressing that some of them are even paying a considerable amount for electricity on a monthly basis, because of their businesses.
His reaction was made in the wake of criticism that local chief executives are involved in the private business Primelectric Holdings Inc. that involves CENECO.
The JVA plebiscite was suspended by the National Electrification Administration for 60 days, in response to a request of the mayors within CENECO franchise area for a temporarily postponement, pending verification of the exact numbers of CENECO member consumers.
Just because we are officials, we can’t endorse anymore, who we feel will be the better management? Lacson asked.
I don’t think there is anything wrong as long as there is no coercion happening, the governor said, stressing “I think any public official has the right to express their sentiments.”
Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer and Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano also aired their support for the JVA, and are even campaigning for it among CENECO member-consumers.
In an interview with Aksyon Radyo, CENECO acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore yesterday said that NEA has started the cleansing of the list of electric cooperative consumer members.
Lapore said they are coordinating and helping the NEA in the cleansing of the list, noting that some of the listed members may have already died, or transferred residences.
On the other hand, Power Watch Negros secretary general Wennie Sancho expressed his concern on the possible attempt to sabotage the holding of JVA plebiscite.
In his letter to Lapore, Sancho said employees and supervisors of CENECO who have direct access to records or files of electric cooperative voter’s list, should be transferred to other departments, as he raised the possibility of bloating the voter’s list.
A plebiscite is an expression of the people’s sovereign will for the approval or disapproval of the JVA, therefore the sanctity of the voter ‘s list is our primordial concern for purposes of transparency and accountability, he stressed.*