Duterte fires NEA administrator Masongsong over corruption issues

Published August 21, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte revealed that he has fired National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edgardo Masongsong for allegedly allowing electric cooperatives to contribute funds for a party-list campaign in the 2019 elections.

President Duterte (ROEMARI LIMOSNERO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the announcement following the recommendation of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to remove Masongsong from public service due to the graft allegations he was facing.

In his pre-recorded public address aired on Saturday morning, August 21, Duterte said he has approved the recommendation of the PACC to sack Masongsong.

“The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission conducted [an] investigation and gave its recommendation to the Office of the President through the Office of the Executive Secretary to dismiss Masongsong from service,” he said.

“This is the pinakabagong ano sa– yung administrator mismo ng (This is the latest update in our fight against corruption, the administrator of the) National Electrification Administrator,” he added.

According to Duterte, he was publicly announcing the names of officials involved in supposed corruption activities to change the people’s perspective about his campaign against corruption.

“People are really [skeptical] and [cynical] about our desire to improve government service. We do not claim to, maybe really totally clean government at this time, not even with another president,” he said.

“But from time to time, ito (like this one), I’m given the opportunity to show the people again that we are not bragging about it but we are trying our best to cope with the situation regarding graft and corruption in our government,” he added.

In a report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), the PACC had alleged that electric cooperatives issued board resolutions authorizing the use of funds for Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association’s (Philreca) bid for a party-list seat in the 2019 elections, now occupied by Rep. Presley de Jesus who is facing charges of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Ombudsman for holding on to his post as president of a local electric cooperative while already a member of Congress.

According to the PACC, Masongsong did not object to the provisions of the board resolutions despite a law prohibiting persons operating a public utility from contributing funds for partisan politics.

In May this year, Masongsong refuted the allegations and described them as “baseless and malicious.”

He assured that no public funds were used to finance the campaign of the Philreca party-list during the 2019 elections, adding that this can easily be verified from the records of the NEA

Duterte’s announcement on Masongsong’s sacking came after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Health (DOH) for supposedly mishandling coronavirus (COVID-19) response funds.

“Nasingit ko lang ito just to show to the people– corruption kasi ang lumalabas itong sa COA, eh (I just mentioned this to show the people– because the COA report makes it appear that there is corruption),” he said during his pre-recorded public address.

“So we have to correct that perception because it will destroy the faith of the people in government. That’s one, it’s very important. The people must be informed and must realize that we are a working government,” he added.

“I do not, I said, proclaim that it is graft-free. We are trying our very best to cope up. Certainly itong DOH, wala ito (in the DOH, there is none),” he continued.

 
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