Graft raps filed vs Napocor execs
Written by Gerry Baldo, Daily Tribune
Militant groups under the umbrella organization Peo-ple Opposed to Warrantless Electricity Rates (Power) have filed before the Office of the Ombudsman graft charges against officials of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) in connection with the alleged purchase of overpriced coal amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos.
Complainants in the case also include scientists group Agham represented by Dr. Giovanni Tapang, party-list group Anakpawis and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
Named respondents were Napocor president Cyril del Callar, Dr. Eduardo Eroy, vice president for Logistics, and Juan Carlos Guardarrama, VP and chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee, Urbano Mendiola Jr., head, Mancom Secretariat.
The case stemmed from the alleged “emergency purchases” made by Napocor during the months of April, May and July this year due to alleged shortage in supply of coal for their power plants.
The group said Napocor entered into contracts that were grossly disadvantageous to the public when it purchased coal at twice the prevailing market prices.
“Based on data that we gathered, the combined overprice for all three transactions may reach up to P665 million. This amount will be eventually shouldered by consumers through increase in the generation rates,” Power convenor Engr. Ramon Ramirez noted.
“Napocor should explain why it made such exorbitant purchases. Was the coal shortage really unavoidable or was it just plain negligence? Were the emergency purchases made to favor a particular supplier, thus the haste in the approval of the negotiated contracts? The Ombudsman must do its work and investigate these deals,” he said.
Agham chairman Dr. Giovani Tapang stressed that it is inevitable for the consumers to shoulder the increase generation rates because this can be recovered by Napocor through the distribution utilities.
“Successive emergency purchases do not really make sense. It was done during regular summer season when power consumption is usually high. Napocor should have at least foreseen this and stock up on coal instead of successively resorting to expensive emergency purchases,” he said.
Bayan believes that the overpriced coal contracts see to counter Malacañang’s call for energy conservation.
“If we want lower power rates, then these questionable contracts and purchases must stop. It has been going on for some time and it is quite disappointing that Malacañang has done nothing about it. We also challenge the House committee on energy chaired by Rep. (Juan Miguel) ‘Mikey’ Arroyo to look into these contracts,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., said.
He added another coal contract appears to be in the works this month also amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos.