Linemen arrested for unauthorized power restoration works

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram, Paul Lauro - Multimedia Reporter and Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | January 27,2022 - 03:46 PM
Linemen arrested for unauthorized restoration works

The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) has filed complaints against three linemen for alleged unauthorized restoration of power in some households in Metro Cebu. They were arrested in an entrapment operation in Talisay City last January 25. The accused linemen reportedly accepted between P5,000 to P10,000 as a fee for restoring electricity in some properties. | Photo via Paul Lauro

CEBU CITY, Philippines — At least three linemen are now facing charges after allegedly restoring electricity in some properties in Metro Cebu without authority.

The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) on Thursday, January 27 filed charges against Bryan Sacmar, Maximo Mariot Jr., and Doroteo Auxtero Jr. for violating the Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines / Materials (Republic Act No. 7832). 

The three were arrested in an entrapment operation in Talisay City last Tuesday, January 25. 

Lawyer Rennan Augustus Oliva, director of NBI-7, said the linemen accused happened to be subcontractors of power distributor Visayan Electric Company. 

Oliva told reporters in a press conference on Thursday that the three would accept fees ranging between P5,000 and P15,000 from consumers who wanted their properties to be reenergized immediately. 

 

“This operation stemmed from the request of Visayan Electric to conduct investigation on complaints from consumers that they were being extorted by linemen so that their houses could be prioritized for electrical repairs,” said Oliva in Cebuano. 

Mariot, Austero, and Sacmar were caught in the act of receiving money for restoring power to several residential houses in Upper Mojon, Talisay City last Tuesday. 

Mariot and Austero remained as active linemen, accredited by Visayan Electric while Sacmar was a former electrician of the same energy utility firm.

 

Representatives from Visayan Electric were also present during Thursday’s press conference.

Engineer Raul Lucero, COO and President of Visayan Electric, said they requested the help of law enforcement agencies after receiving reports that some linemen, both accredited and non-accredited by their company, had been asking consumers for fees to power up their properties.

“Our repair services (after Typhoon Odette) are free… That’s why on January 11, we filed a request before NBI-7 to help us put a stop on these illegal activities,” he said. 

Lucero also said they were alarmed by numerous complaints, some of which also circulated on social media.

“Several of the information we relayed (to NBI-7) actually came from comments on Facebook posts,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Oliva said their investigation on electricians and linemen allegedly extorting consumers for re-energization was ongoing.

“This is a continuing investigation. The suspects we arrested are just the first. In fact, we are still tracing other people involved in these illegal activities, and some of them are not even electricians or linemen. This served as a warning to all,” Oliva explained. 

Lucero also said Visayan Electric would also be conducting their own investigation on the matter, considering that two of the three suspects happened to be electricians accredited to their firm.

“We will be doing our own investigation on the matter. As to possible consequences for the contractor involved, we will study about that. We don’t want to rush any official decisions considering we haven’t conducted a full investigation,” he explained. 

Mariot, Austero and Sacmar are currently under the custody of NBI-7. They were tight-lipped when reporters asked for their comments. 

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TAGS: linemen arrested, NBI-7, NBI-7 director Attorney Renan Oliva

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