MANILA – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has filed a case against National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edgardo Masongsong over his supposed inaction on the supposed use of public funds for a party-list’s campaign activities.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday, PACC chairperson Greco Belgica said his office lodged on Monday an “online” case against Masongsong.
Results of the PACC investigation found that Masongsong never expressed objection to electric cooperatives’ (ECs) continuing financial support to the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) party-list, Belgica said.
“Ang ending po ay contribution ng mga electric cooperative sa ibat’ ibang partylist gaya ng Philreca (The result is electric cooperatives are financing party-lists like Philreca),” he said. “Sa amin pong pagsisiyasat, napatunayan namin na there is a probable cause na puwedeng tignan ng Ombudsman at siya (Masongsong) ay litisin (Based on our investigation, we have proven that there is probable cause for the Ombudsman to probe him).”
The NEA, a state corporation created on August 4, 1969 by virtue of Republic Act 6038, is in partnership with 121 ECs. It is tasked to provide financial, institutional, and technical services to the ECs to make them become more efficient, reliable, and globally competitive.
Philreca, the umbrella organization of the 121 ECs nationwide, has received financial assistance from them to finance the campaign of its party-list group, Belgica noted.
Hence, Masongsong violates Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, Belgica said.
“Si Mr. Masongsong ay lumabag sa batas, kabilang ang RA 3019 at ng Omnibus Election Code dahil pinagbabawal po ng batas na magambag o mag-contribute ng pondo para sa kampanya ng isang kandidato or party-list ang isang public utility or gamitin ang government funds para sa ganitong pamamaraan (Mr. Masongsong violates the law, including RA 3019 and Omnibus Election Code because it is prohibited to contribute funds for the campaign of a candidate or party-list using government funds),” he said.
Belgica said a hard copy of the case and pieces of evidence against Masongsong would be submitted to the Ombudsman’s office when it resumes operations after an extended lockdown due to rising coronavirus disease 2019 cases among its personnel.
“Ito ay pagpapatunay na hindi po titigil ang ating kampanya laban sa korapsyon na pinapatupad natin (This is proof that our campaign against corruption would remain relentless),” he said.
In April 2019, the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. (Nasecore) urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel the registration of Philreca party-list for receiving campaigns from ECs totaling PHP10 million.
Nasecore, in its petition to the Comelec, included evidence consisting of a check, deposit slips, and board resolutions indicating that ECs have contributed millions of pesos to Philreca.
ECs have allegedly given Philreca financial aid either “in support of political undertakings of the party-list representative 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.” (PNA)