2 “power” brokers
posted 30-Apr-2016  ·  
4,164 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

In one of his campaign sorties in the north, former Gov. Joseph “Boboy” Cua publicly accused two Catanduanes officials of acting as brokers for a power firm seeking to dominate electricity supply in the province presumably as a prelude to the future privatization of the operationally unstable First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (FICELCO). Boboy Cua said he believes that the two officials are positioning  toward future business partnership with the owners of the power firm once FICELCO goes into private hands.

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Boboy went further raising the suspicions that the path toward privatization of the cooperative was being slowly cleared: first, via the power firm’s control and influence over the FICELCO board of directors to soften their stance vis-à-vis the power firm; second, to pull the cooperative down into financial indebtedness  to justify its eventual privatization. According to the former governor, the power firm has been dangling  loan offers to FICELCO to the tune of P20 million a month to apparently to fortify its hold of the financially-troubled cooperative of more than 40,000 subscribers in the island.

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Cua revealed that one of the two officials twice approached trying to set him up to a meeting with the power firm official, the purpose of which presumably, he said, was to ask his intercession in softening the FICELCO board positions on various matters vis-à-vis the power firm. The other official, Cua alleged, also made similar overtures to him for the same purpose. Cua  named the two officials, obviously  to satisfy the inquiring public for explanations on the  troubled power situation in the island. In the interest of fairness  however, this space is withholding their names until such time that this writer has talked to them for their respective sides on the allegations. Both officials deserved that because they  too  like Cua  are candidates in the May 9  elections.

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So the cat is now out of the bag. I have no reason to quickly dismiss Boboy Cua’s allegations because many things are now taking place inside FICELCO under its new board, without the public seeing or hearing them. If one wonders why the  present FICELCO board was too quick in allowing,  in violation of the rules, a power firm to operate its generator sets for six months instead of the one month agreed on with Gov.Cely Wong, we can sense that the resulting more than P2 pesos per kilowatt hour increase in FICELCO charges could be part of the sinister financial manoeuvring, at the expense of its consumers. The extra charges could put FICELCO in the red further if the power users would take things in stride and  the regulatory agencies stall time in deciding whether to disallow any rate increase without the requisite public hearings.

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Salceda’s drama. That sensational announcement of Liberal Party Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay on his shift of support to Sen. Grace Poe further drove down the May 9 prospects of LP standard bearer Mar Roxas. Albay is historically an LP country and for the unopposed LP reelectionist governor to lead himself  the desertion to Poe’s camp could be the last nail in Roxas’ coffin. Coming as it did at the critical phase of the campaign, Salceda’s drama was a big psychological blow for Roxas who has failed to improve his rating despite the advantage of a well-funded and organized campaign. But it was co-Bicolano Rep. Leni Robredo who was hurt most by Salceda’s latest political coup. After months of  glorifying Robredo as the most competitive vice presidential bet, Salceda must have forgotten that earlier he had predicted that the Cam Sur widow will sweep the Bicol votes, not survey leader Sen. Chiz Escudero who is from nearby Sorsogon. Was Salceda’s abandonment of Roxas also a shift of support to Escudero? This Salceda has to clarify. Bicolanos are a different breed. One of the revered traits in this land of chilli-chewing folks is the so-called palabra de honor.  

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ROSULO welcomes comments via:  rosmanlangit@yahoo.com  

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