Cordillera police chief faces violation of human rights raps

November 18, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 174 views

CORDILLERA Police Regional Office director Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee is facing a complaint for alleged violation of human rights before the Commission on Human Rights.

The complaint was initiated by engineer Melchor Licoben, the controversial BENECO general manager, who was ordered replaced by the National Electrification Administration.

Licoben said he is the duly-named and appointed BENECO general manager by virtue of a Board of Directors’ resolution issued on April 21, 2020.

Licoben said he is filing a complaint for human rights violation against Lee “for allowing the use of excessive police force to serve a mere suspension order in the cover of darkness in violation of our rights as human beings.”

The complaint was forwarded to the CHR Cordillera office in Baguio City.

The “forced takeover was done in the wee hours of the morning, with the intent of taking over the BENECO headquarters, to allow attorney Anna Marie Rafael to appropriate the same as her office to my detriment as the functioning GM instead of availing of the legal remedies,” Licoben said.

According to Licoben, the “forced takeover cause him fear, anxiety and sleepless nights for two-days” and that he was denied the right to enter his office. He however said that nobody was hurt physically during the incident.

Lee said he is ready to answer the charges against him before the proper forum.

He said they merely enforced the court order as they were deputized to help install Rafael, a former assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Five lawyers representing BENECO maintained that the local police was deputized to effect the full implementation of the 90-day Preventive Suspension Order issued against Licoben and the cooperative’s directors, attorney Esteban Somngi, Mike Maspil, Jeffred Acop, Peter Busaing, Robert Valentin, Jonathan Obar and Josephine Tuling.

The five said that the National Electrification Administration pursuant to Section 4 ®, Chapter II of P.D. 269 as amended by R.A. 10531 has ordered the deputization of the Philippine National Police to effect the full implementation of the preventive suspension order issued against the former BENECO officials.

“The PSO has been served on September 28, 2021. This was acknowledged by the concerned BODs and engr. Licoben before the NEA on September 30, 2021,” BENECO lawyers Rocky Balison, Patrick Astudillo, Willybroth Managtag, Joel Pasiwen and Jingboy Atonen said in a press statement.

According to the lawyers, “the suspended BODs and engr. Licoben continued to defy the lawful orders and issuances of the NEA-BOA by performing transactions related to the operations and management of BENECO.

This is a blatant abuse of authority and disrespect to the rule of law. It is appropriating the law into their own hands and deliberately ignoring their accountability to the NEAR, hence, the request for assistance from the PNP,” the lawyers said.

BENECO is an entity granted with a government franchise.

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