The Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) Anti-Pilferage Section is warning the public of the modus operandi of a group that offers services of calibrating the electric meter to lower electric consumption.
Engr. Rez Contrivida, head of Anti-Pilferage Division of Paleco said the recent incident in one of the hotels in Puerto Princesa City has paved way for the confirmation of the illegal activity.
Contrivida said a fire occurred in one of the rooms of Go Hotel in Puerto Princesa City on Friday, July 10.
When the hotel stall sense that there is fire in the room they immediately called the Bureau of Fire Protection but when they opened the door of the hotel room one of the gadgets that have caused the fire.
Inside the room they saw other gadgets and equipment which the BFP and hotel personnel suspected as being used for electrical- related activities.
He added that they were invited by the BFP personnel to take a look of the gadgets which they confirmed as tools used to calibrate the electrical meter which only the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) staff allowed to do the calibration.
He pointed out that the process of calibration would either slow down or speed up the electric meter but most often said activity when done illegally reduces the electric consumption.
The persons billeted in that room no longer returned to claim their belongings.
The suspects were identified as Noel Francisco who claimed he is an ERC staff, Timoteo Pasupang, Jr., and Gilbert Almeda.
The ERC has released a notice to public cautioning about this modus operandi and vehemently denied connection to Francisco.
“Noong tiningnan namin ang pinadalang notice to the public ng ERC, si Noel Francisco lumalabas na nagpapanggap na taga ERC at naniningil ng isang libo” Contrivida said.
The suspect is also facing the same charges in other parts of the country.
Modus links to Arreza Dev’t Corp
According to Engr. Contrivida, on the morning that the incident happened in Go Hotel, Tom Arupo Marketing Manager of Arreza Development Corporation rushed to the hotel and admitted that his company hired the three suspects from Manila.
Arupo said that these persons are in the city to take a look on their electric meter.
“Noong tinanong ko sya kung ano gagawain ng mga taong ito sa metro, sabi ni Arupo hindi daw nya ma-explain kasi technical,” Contrivida said.
Contrivida added that it was Arreza Development Corporation who paid the hote bills including the damages caused by the fire inside the room.
After the incident, the Paleco Anti-Pilferage Section staff waited for almost two hours at the hotel hoping to talk to the suspects.
“Tinatawagn sila ni Mr. Arupo at ang sabi pabalik na, pero hindi na sila bumalik,” Contrivida said.
Yesterday, July 17, one of the staff of Arreza Dev’t Corp. went to Paleco and brought electric meters to have it registered. Contrivida confirmed that these meters are the same as the one they saw inside the room of the suspects.
“Kinunan ko ng serial numbers ang mga metro at pareho ito sa dinala nila kahapon,” he said.
Paleco personnel refused to have those meters registered because the investigation of the incident is still on going.
Arreza filed a complaint
The evidences are now with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – Palawan.
According to SP04 Tony Magbanua of CIDG-Palawan, Arreza Dev’t Corp. filed a complaint in their office saying that they were victimized by the suspects of the alleged meter tampering.
Blotter of CIDG Palawan states that the suspects introduced themselves as expert in electric meters and conducted inspection to the six units of main electric meters and immediately brought the items to Go Hotel where they are staying for unknown reasons.
CIDG Palawan is now making all efforts to get hold of the suspects and determine the truthfulness of the incident.