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Nation

More anomalies unearthed at Batanes electric coop

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BASCO, Batanes – More anomalies at the Batanes Electric Cooperative, Inc., (Batanelco) have been uncovered by an audit team of the National Eletrification Administration.

In her report to NEA Deputy Administrator Pablo Pan III, Director Veronica Cruz of the NEA Electric Cooperatives Audit Department, said that aside from being heavily divested of cash amounting to P14,120,478.82, Batanelco also has suffered from mismanagement.

The audit team also said there was conflict of interest in Florante Gato, being the general manager of the electric cooperative and at the same time manager and vice chairman of the Batanelco Employees and Consumers Cooperative (Beacon).

“There is total failure of the internal control system as liquidations to advances were not sufficiently documented; the manager as purchaser; lapping being practiced by the cashier; and most notably is the diversion of funds by the general manager,” the report added.

The auditors also established the ill motive of acquiring loans from NEA and the Development Bank of the Philippines in the guise of rural electrification projects and subsequently transferring a large portion of the loan proceeds to Beacon without any Board resolution authorizing the transfer.

“This is a manifestation of grave misconduct which is pre­judicial to the interest of the electric cooperative. Noteworthy to mention is that Batanelco pays for the amortization of these loans,” Cruz said in her report.

The team also uncovered dubious documentation on procurement transactions, as it said business establishments allegedly making their business proposals with Batanelco appeared to be owned by the same people.

The report further said that the family of Gato was involved in the transactions of the electric cooperative.

“Some checks were payable to Leah Gato, wife of Gato, in their Sikatuna Village, Quezon City residence,” the report added. – Jack Castaño

BATANELCO

BATANELCO EMPLOYEES AND CONSUMERS COOPERATIVE

BATANES ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR PABLO PAN

DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

DIRECTOR VERONICA CRUZ

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES AUDIT DEPARTMENT

FLORANTE GATO

GATO

JACK CASTA

LEAH GATO

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