NEA lawyer also declared persona non grata in Benguet
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The lawyer who took over the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) for two days in October has also been declared unwelcome in the province of Benguet.
Thirteen members of the Benguet Provincial Board voted to declare Omar Mayo persona non grata during its regular session on Wednesday after he appeared via Zoom for the body’s inquiry into the controversial October 18 dawn raid of the Beneco headquarters in Baguio City.
Mayo was earlier declared persona non grata by the Baguio City Council during its October 23 session, also after launching its own inquiry into the deputization of police officers to help break into the Beneco building at the city’s South Drive before 3 a.m.
Board Member Juan Nazaro, who sponsored the resolution, said Mayo disrespected the customs and tradition of Benguet’s Ibaloy, Kankaney, and Kalanguya residents when he led the violent takeover of the power utility serving Baguio and Benguet. He described the operation undertaken while people slept as a “misconduct.”
It was not immediately known if Mayo would be physically banned in Benguet because of the declaration.
During the inquiry, Mayo said he was appointed Beneco “project manager” by the National Electrification Administration’s (NEA) board of administrators, which grants him the authority to execute NEA’s orders, among them the suspension of all Beneco officials who refused to recognize NEA’s choice for Beneco manager – lawyer Ana Maria Paz Banaag Rafael.
Board Member Bernard Waclin abstained saying he preferred that lawsuits be filed against Mayo and Rafael, who is former assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, if needed.
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