Following the sudden demise of National Power Corporation (NPC) President and CEO Pio J. Benavidez, the state-run firm has named Atty Melchor Paz Ridulme as officer-in-charge.

Ridulme is currently NPC’s vice president and legal counsel; and his assumption of the OIC post will be until such time that a replacement of Benavidez will be nominated by President Rodrigo Duterte and formally elected by the company board that is chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

Atty Melchor Paz Ridulme

“As the OIC-President, Atty Ridulme is authorized to act on and approve urgent matters concerning the operations of Napocor,” an announcement from the company has emphasized.

Such operational concerns, according to the company, shall include: signing of contracts relating to procurement of goods and services; approve disbursements of the corporation’s legitimate financial transactions; release funds and approval of payroll for the company’s employees and personnel.

Additionally, he can issue orders and memoranda; and can also sign promotional appointments of employees.

Touted as the youngest to have held a Vice President post at the power firm, Ridulme also serves as country coordinator of the Philippines for the Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities and Authorities (HAPUA); as well as chair of NPC’s committee on anti-red tape and investigative committee relative to the firm’s whistleblowing policy.

He obtained his law degree from San Beda College and also finished Political Science-Economics degree from the University of the Philippines.

The NPC management announced on Tuesday (June 22) the passing of Benavidez “due to a fatal heart attack.” He was the husband of Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez.

The late NPC president served the state-owned company through decades and he spent his life in government service for roughly 47 years.

At NPC, he was leading the firm in aggressively pursuing the electrification of the country’s off-grid areas and in advancing the deployment of technologies that will not only bring down the rates for consumers in these domains but also to tame their carbon footprints as these areas traditionally leaned on more expensive and carbon-emitting fuels for electricity generation.

The company is likewise spearheading the refurbishment of the Agus hydropower complex in Mindanao; so it can eventually reinforce its scale of electricity generation and to eventually prepare it for privatization.

Source: Manila Bulletin (