Not whim and caprices over Laniba

DEC 30/10-JAN 5, 2011

Valley & City Chronicle


By Cha Monforte

The Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) board of directors presided by Dean Briz has crossed the rubicon: it decided to reject a non-engineer Allan Laniba as a insider employee to become Daneco’s regular general manager. Earlier, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), following its validation and screening of shortlisted applicants, recommended to the Daneco board to either confirm Laniba or have the vacant post re-published by newspapers. The Daneco board, under the law and the bylaws, has the final say who becomes the regular GM. NEA only screens, validates and recommends its choice. Stupid, it’s the Daneco board which finally decides who the Daneco regular GM should be!

My source said that of the 12 members of the board of directors now only director Orlando Bugas of Nabunturan is supporting Laniba. If I were Laniba I would not insist for the peace of Daneco. But he’s moving heaven and earth wanting unpeace by soliciting support from top politicians including Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and religous leaders unknowing of Daneco’s la affairs. I know Gov. RDR and Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz are men of peace, so here’s a history about Daneco’s GMship for their comprehensive info as especially the governor’s cordon sanitaire obviously failed to provide him one. And like Fr. Nards of Panabo City info office, the DavNor info men should be better inside Bananoy, the mascot.

Daneco’s GMship issue has now reached the peak in so far as Laniba is concerned and after 1 year of legal tussles and boardroom wranglings. Laniba, junior of many senior department managers of Daneco, was a protege of late GM Edgar Savellano and was designated to be OIC GM by the latter when he was still sick and on leave. The previous board, presided then by Dr. Antonio Sebumpan, MD and majority of whom were allied to Savellano, subsequently confirmed Laniba’s designation as OIC GM on April 4, 2009. NEA on April 15, 2009 finding Laniba to be backed up by the previous board affirmed the board’s action and gave Laniba 1 year probationary period.

On July 11, 2009 while Laniba was supposed to be on probationary period the previous board led by Dr. Sebumpan moved to make Laniba the permanent GM. The resolution net 8 votes and 1 “no” vote of Briz. Shortly after, Briz together with director-treasurer Ananias Darjan Jr and director Roman Calicdan questioned the board’s action and by mid 2009 NEA administrator counsel Atty. Edgardo Piamonte threw back the issue to the board to resolve it as a collegial body. Dr. Sebumpan answered NEA, stating that the issue was already settled by the board. On September 16, 2009 NEA counsel Piamonte wrote the board giving Laniba 1 year up to April 2010 to prove his worth during the probationary period with an advice that Laniba had still to be subjected to NEA evaluation and recommendation.

But on Dec. 12, 2009 six Daneco directors led by Briz in a simple majority moved to declare the GM post open and vacant in Resolution No. 293 . Four directors said “no” while one director abstained. It was contested by Laniba, backed up by Daneco’s legal consultant Atty. Jess Albacite, to NEA legal department and they tagged Res. 293 as invalid from the very beginning advancing that what was needed was 2/3 of the votes of 12-man board of directors or 7 votes and not simple majority of 6 votes. But NEA threw back again to the board the challenge to resolve the issue on majority votes in Res. No. 293. On February 28, 2010 the previous board, leaning to Briz contention, affirmed Res. 293 to be valid and in order with additional 1 vote gained, thus the 7 majority votes was reached and affirmed the contended resolution. But still Laniba protested even while he was yet acting as the OIC GM of Daneco with a board reeling in so divisive, tumultuos mood and so oriented to boardroom maneuverings that had one director crying for peace in the boardroom in Daneco Tagum office after he had a stroke. When Laniba was still the OIC GM he managed to sway the employees to his side even the contracting electricians instigating them to go against a Laniba-hostile board already chaired by Briz, who earlier wrested the presidency from Sebumpan in a new election of officers following vascillations of few directors towards Briz and company.

With Briz and company’s 7 votes as a backdrop, the previous board was then locked in a struggle in policy measures with hairline vote margin switching to and pro either favoring Laniba or Briz depending on the issue at hand. Briz and Co. contended that Laniba’s term as OIC GM could anytime be cut by the Daneco board citing a NEA ruling that the management of a power cooperative is vested on its board of directors, and therefore it can anytime declare the position open and vacant for application by anybody nationwide. They then asked NEA to publish the vacancy to a newspaper of national circulation with Daneco shouldering for the cost of publication, which NEA subsequently favored to publish it by second week of April 2010.

While Briz and Co. and Sebumpan and Co. locked horns on the issue of replacing or maintaining Laniba, the Briz and Co. had been blowing the lid off in baring alleged anomalies and “deficiencies” happening in Daneco with unresolved management, operational and financial issues harking back to the time of late first GM Atty. Jose Amacio. Briz and Co. wanted reforms, while Laniba was defending a status quo. Last year Laniba succeeded twice not to be unseated by Briz and Co. as he still got the majority in defeating the measure of replacing him with one who chickened out, and then the motion of rotating OIC GMship by department managers. If not of the publication of the notice of vacancy for Daneco GM, Laniba, unrepentant and clinging like kapit tuko to his post, would not have relinquished the OIC GM post as required to an Daneco insider applicant to the position. On April 27, 2010 technical department manager Engr. Nelson Balangan assumed as Daneco OIC GM. Balangan is proving to be well in managing Daneco even as there is now peace in the current board of directors led by Briz (who was reelected as board president July last year by his colleagues with two new directors – Zafra and Binasbas). By October 2010 three of the eight applicants for regular GM were shortlisted by NEA to be qualified for validation and screening even as earlier NEA deemed Laniba to be already automatically qualified for being the OIC GM on probationary period. And by December last year NEA gave an advisory to either confirm or re-publish the notice of vacancy of regular GM of Daneco.

POSTSCRIPTS: We are in democratic country, and a power coop is also democratic by the virtue that it is collectively owned by its members, who reposed their will to their elected board of directors. Since Briz and Co. is reportedly now composed of 10 directors, a so large majority, with only Bugas supporting Laniba, now how’s this far Gov. RDR? It’s the will of the Daneco members through the board that put Laniba to be the man not to be trusted to manage the multi-billionaire Daneco.Not by the directors’ whims and caprices. Laniba could not even manage well the small thing of the small BAPAs. And still give him the whole, big affairs of multi-billionaire Daneco? It’s doubly risky to put the management of Daneco to a junior, a neophyte, non-engineer and politician wannabe. Laniba is a suspect when he defends the status quo and resists reforms pushed by Briz and Co. and wants divisions and tumults to characterize Daneco’s boardroom. And look what he had done to peace in Daneco by his being kapit tuko? Instead, of getting more directors to his side, he has one Orlando Bugas digging up for him. (e-mail:


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