THE Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) said on Thursday that the “financial assistance” which the group admitted it had received from electric cooperatives is “valid and of vital importance for the survival of ECs.”
The Philreca said it is engaged in various activities, such as the immediate restoration/rehabilitation of power lines and providing assistance to support ECs stricken by typhoons, flood, earthquakes, fire, and other disasters and calamities.
Organizing these activities, Philreca said, requires funding that should be readily available. “Donations and assistance received by Philreca in the form of advocacy funds are not only valid but also of vital importance for the survival of ECs and the upholding of their interests.”
Allegations hurled by the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) that “ECs have financially contributed to any party-list organization vying for seats in the May 2019 elections is false and downright malicious. Concerned ECs have denied this and Philreca outrightly discourages this,” said Philreca.
The Nasecore earlier asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel the accreditation of Philreca’s party-list groups for receiving campaign contributions from ECs totaling P10 million.
The petition included evidence consisting of a check, deposits slips and board resolutions indicating that ECs have contributed millions of pesos to Philreca, the umbrella organization of electric cooperatives, purposely either “in support of political undertakings of the party-lists represented by Philreca; for [the] legislative endeavor of the Philreca Advocacy Fund; campaign fund for Philreca party-list to support the advocacies and legislative endeavor, and requesting the approval for the supplemental budget of the said campaign fund which are all in blatant violation of Section 95 of the Omnibus Election Code.”
Nasecore also asked Comelec to cancel the registration of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, Rural Electric Cooperatives Board of Directors Association and Padayon Pilipino because their members and nominees are either general managers or board of directors and officers of ECs.
The petition further alleged that the party-lists, “through the representation and facilitation of co-party-list Philreca, abused their power through their influence and positions either as directors, general managers or officers of their respective electric cooperatives and associations, have solicited and received financial contributions from ECs intended for partisan political activity primarily to fund the campaign of their respective party-lists.”
But Philreca downplayed the accusations, saying these are nothing but allegations intended to harass their group.
“What motivates Nasecore to do this political noise [other than to get media mileage for its own campaign purposes] is unclear to us. We certainly hope it has nothing to do with our standoff with Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, who has been loyally served for years by Pete Ilagan, a former undersecretary of the Department of Energy appointed to office with the backing of Cusi at the onset of his first year in the post.
Pete Ilagan happens to be the first nominee of the Nasecore Kontra Brownout party-list. If Nasecore is being used by a government official for them to get even with Philreca and the rural electrification movement, then it would be another story and another battle we are ready to face,” said Philreca.