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NEA upholds suspension of Catanduanes power officials: Gov Cua’s protege blocked from taking over as GM

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The National Electrification Administration (NEA) suspended three officials of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) for allowing a non-qualified member to run for election and sit in the cooperative’s board of directors.

In a one-page resolution, NEA upheld its earlier ruling suspending Grace Molina, Francis Gianan and Eleonor Valles – all members of FICELCO’s screening committee – for failing to properly examine and verify the educational qualification of a certain Gabriel Cantalejo.

NEA said Cantalejo ran during the election to represent the Municipality of San Andres, Catanduanes on FICELCO’s board of directors despite lacking the necessary qualifications.

During NEA’s review, the agency discovered that the suspended members of the screening committee declared Cantalejo qualified despite glaring inconsistencies in the latter’s documents.

NEA said Cantalejo only finished a three-year course in Fisheries, contrary to the report submitted by the screening committee that he has the mandated four-year degree, one of the criteria required to become a member of the cooperative’s Board of Directors.

As a result, Cantalejo was disqualified by NEA.

A 60-day suspension was meted against the erring FICELCO officials who were found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interest of the cooperative and its members. NEA stressed that since the suspended screening committee members were performing vital functions, the cooperative was greatly prejudiced because of their negligence.

Following their suspension, one of the three FICELCO officials may no longer be appointed as General Manager, based on the Revised Qualification Standards for the General Managers of Electric Cooperatives.

Under the said rules, a candidate for General Manager must have no derogatory or adverse administrative record in any of his/her previous employment/s.

Last April, Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua endorsed Gianan – one of the three suspended FICELCO screening committee members – to be the next General Manager of the local power cooperative.