Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) board chairman Jeffrey Tan-Endriga early this week bewailed the City Council’s move to bring up the appointment of their general manager made three years ago by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) as an issue to criticize the electric cooperative.

Endriga was reacting to Councilor Elgin Damasco questioning why a local entrepreneur who had applied for the GM post during their selection process, a certain Engr. Gonzalo Ong was not selected and was instead filled up by a NEA appointee.

“Those issues Elgin Damasco are raising are moot and academic. Already three years has passed and they cannot move on. Very clear, Mr. Ong admitted that he did not proceed in the last process of the interview, meaning he did not complete the procedures, and that is why we (PALECO) did not accept his application,” Endriga said in a text message on Wednesday, September 22.

Endriga pointed out that during the selection process in 2019, Ong waived his chance to become GM. He was even quoted in an article by Palawan News, stating that he was turned off by internal politics within the cooperative.

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Ong, who was selected by the NEA among other applicants at the time, claimed he declined the position due to political concerns.

“Yon ‘yong time na pinapupunta ako ng NEA. Hindi na ako pumunta. Parang magulo ‘yong set up ni PALECO, other than that medyo may hidden pa doon na parang kailangan kung mag-mano,” Ong said.

READ RELATED STORY: PALECO politics, not salary package, drove away top candidate for GM post

When the PALECO published their call for applications for GM in November 2020, Ong, who was called by the Council, stated during the question hour that he provided all of the required criteria. This came when previous OIC-GM Ferdinand Pontillas resigned in August 2020. He claimed he hasn’t heard from NEA since submitting the application.

“Nag-apply ako, noon November 18, 2020, nag-reapply ako sa NEA. May reply si deputy administrator doon sa ating application. Hindi ko na rin alam kung ano ang nangyari pagkatapos,” Ong told City Councilors.

NEA officials who were at the question hour also confirmed that they were unaware that Ong made another application for GM.

Endriga also replied to a statement made on the record by Councilor Damasco to Palawan News, in which he said that PALECO’s internal management is an “anomaly.” He said that the NEA’s selection of Bienvenida Tongol as acting general manager (AGM) constituted an impropriety. The post of GM at PALECO has remained empty to this day.

“Oo, may anomalya talaga. Kasi, bakit ‘yong NEA, hindi nila tinanggap ang aplikasyon ni Mr. Ong, isang Palawenyo, at nagtalaga sila ng tauhan nila? ” Damasco said in an interview on Monday.

“Political season is coming, some of them are just using the cooperative for their political campaign. Ang tanong, bakit nila ngayon lang inuusisa? At bakit nila kukuwestyunin ang credibility ng NEA? Maybe they want a puppet in our cooperative, so they can dictate what they want for their own interest,” Endriga shot back.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.