Philreca denies receiving electric co-op contributions for 2019 campaign

THE PHILIPPINE Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (Philreca) Party-list has denied accusations from the anti-corruption commission head that it received contributions from electric cooperatives during the 2019 election campaign.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Greco B. Belgica, in a Palace online briefing on Wednesday, alleged that electric cooperatives released board resolutions allowing for contributions to help the party-list’s campaign. He added that National Electric Administration (NEA) head Edgardo R. Masongsong did not oppose the resolutions.

“The law does not allow public utilities to contribute funds to campaigns of a candidate or a party-list, or use government funds to do so,” Mr. Belgica said in Filipino.

Philreca Party-list Representative Presley C. De Jesus denied the accusation in a statement on Thursday.

“We categorically deny the allegations and condemn any attempt to tarnish the name and reputation of the Party-list…The Party-list did not receive any political contributions from any electric cooperative during the 2019 elections,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. De Jesus pointed out that electric cooperatives are not public utilities.

“Had PACC been more thorough in their research, they would have known that electric cooperatives are not public entities. They are non-stock, non-profit membership organizations supervised by the NEA,” he said.

Mr. De Jesus said the issue arose from a complaint filed by political opponents before the PACC. He added that the party-list has committed itself to transparency and supports any investigation into the matter.

Mr. Masongsong, in a separate statement released by NEA on Thursday, said the PACC head’s allegations are “baseless and malicious.”

“My alleged ‘condoning of the use of public funds to fund the political campaign of PHILRECA Party-list’ is baseless, malicious and a reckless presumption considering that no public funds were ever manipulated for the said purpose,” he said.

Mr. Masongsong said he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. — Angelica Y. Yang