Meralco executives to be sued for large-scale estafa

MANILA, Philippines – Various individuals, including the President of a consumers’ group, will file a large-scale estafa case on Thursday at the Department of Justice against executives of the Philippines’ largest electric company.

In a statement emailed to GMANews.TV, the counsel for the seven complainants claimed that in 2006, Meralco executives committed large-scale estafa when they converted “interest from meter and bill deposits of consumers” and claimed it as the company’s income.

“Meralco has customarily charged deposits for meters, but this stopped in 2004 when the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) passed the Magna Carta for Residential Consumers,” the statement said.

Since the Magna Carta has already indicated that Meralco has already recovered the cost of the meters from its earnings, the complaint said that there is a “need to refund the deposits” estimated to reach P889 million.

“With the passage of the guidelines of the Magna Carta in 2004, a distinction was made between the residential consumers and non-residential consumers regarding meter deposits are concerned,” the statement said. “Residential consumers who subscribed prior to 1995 were declared to earn 6% interest and only consumers who subscribed after 1995 were declared to earn 10% interest. In 2006, Meralco converted the 4% interest accrued from the year 1995 to 2003 to the company’s “interests and other income”. The accrued interest differential translates to no less than P889M.”

Among those named in the suit include Manila Electric Co. executives and board members who served the company in 2006. These include Manuel M. Lopez, Felipe B. Alfonso, Jesus P. Francisco, Arthur R. Defensor, Jr, Gregory L. Domingo, Octavio Victor R. Espiritu, Christian S. Monsod, Federico E. Puno, Washington Z. Sycip, Emilio A. Vicens, Cesar E. A. Virata, Francisco L. Viray, Daniel D. Tagaza, Rafael L. Andrada, Helen T. De Guzman, Antonio R. Valera, and Manolo C. Fernando.

The case will be filed by Petronilo L. “Pete” Ilagan, President of the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reform, together with Marie dela Rosa, William R. Espiritu, Siegfriedo A. Veloso, Leonardo A. Aurelio, Teofilo V. Diego, and Bonifacio C. Dazo.



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