Despite CDA’s cease order, DANECO-CDA group holds special assembly

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Despite a standing cease-and-desist order from the Cooperative Development Authority, the  group of former officials of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative who have been separately holding on Daneco’s Tagum office pushed through the special general assembly of member-consumers last Sunday, Oct. 21 at a school in Tagum City.

During the assembly the group known as Daneco-CDA, for wanting Daneco to be converted into a stock cooperative under CDA, secured support from Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño, ex-Senator Agapito “Butz” Aquino and partylist groups from cooperative sector.

Guesting on the assembly, Rep. Casiño warned that the National Electrification Administration’s takeover to Daneco is a prelude to takeover by private corporations “which are only after for huge profits.” He said that under a cooperative scheme, Daneco could be exempt from paying taxes and other fees and would allow member-consumers to avail of cheaper power rates.

Aquino, on the other hand, stressed on the benefits of cooperativism and encouraged member-consumers to strengthen their cooperative.

The Daneco-CDA group has been the subject of a cease-and-desist order of the CDA after the latter temporarily suspended last Sept. 28 Daneco’s CDA registration following an amended writ of preliminary injunction issued earlier by the Court of Appeals against the same group.

However, Atty. Glenn Blair Carnicer, legal counsel of the Daneco-CDA group, charged that the CDA’s order as illegal, done without investigation and thus done without due process.

The group have been filibustering and physically defiant thus far to sheriff’s execution of court order based on the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by the Court of Appeal.

The first CA’s WPI last August affirmed the power of NEA to dismiss erring officials of an electric cooperative and the CA’s amended WPI in mid October prohibited “the respondents, their agents and representatives from exercising their powers as directors of Daneco.”

The special assembly, the second the group called this year, managed to elect new set of officers different to those 10 officials who were dismissed by NEA last July 30 after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty stemming from some 11 allegations in an administrative complaint filed by a group of member-consumers October last year.

The new set of officers vowed to pursue what the old set of officers started, bemuddling the issue on accountability and leadership of the group although the old set of officers and their political backers were suspected by the opposing group to have only introduced new leadership in trying to evade and skirt the NEA and court and quasi-judicial orders that hounded them.

Reports said the Daneco-CDA group claimed that the assembly held at Tagum National High School at Manga, Tagum City was attended by more than 13,000 members, but some estimated that there were only more 3,000 attendees.

The Daneco-NEA group called the special general assembly “illegal” owing to the standing orders from the CDA and the CA. Days before the assembly, the Daneco-NEA group reportedly distributed tens of thousands of leaflets to households asking member-consumers not to attend the activity. 

Sources said that the new officers were also elected “not by thousands but hundreds of votes” only from those attending the assembly, as the winning members of the board of directors representing the Mawab and Tagum districts had only garnered more than 40 votes and more than 200 votes, respectively. 

The special assembly is the latest that has drawn another tug-of-war between the two contesting groups.

Tuesday last week, the holding-out Daneco-CDA group deployed boom trucks barring the entrance and exit gates of Daneco Tagum office at Tipaz, Magugpo East, Tagum City as reportedly they were fearful of possible “forcible entry” of the Daneco-NEA group of officials who remain to control the Daneco main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley.

The deployment followed after Daneco-NEA group made a press conference. This group had tried twice in the past to make management takeover but the holding-out Daneco-CDA group foiled them.

The Daneco-CDA group has been physically occupying the Daneco Tagum office since July and has been holding on its management and separately collecting power bill payments.

The Daneco-NEA group through its legal counsel Jeorge Rapista, said in a press conference that CDA “found merits on the complaint” filed last June 25 by a group of member-consumers who wanted Daneco’s CDA registration revoked.

But Atty. Carnicer charged that the CDA’s order by its chairman Emmanuel Santiaguel ia “a void order, (which) has no force nor effect.”

Earlier, Carnicer bared that all of those dismissed by NEA were no longer performing their functions. Reynaldo Bandala, appointed OIC general manager, who was subject of the CA’s amended PWI was said to have been replaced lately by a Engr. Gerald Osorio, reportedly a pro-Daneco-CDA employee. On the other hand, Daneco-NEA has its different OIC GM, Benedicto Ongking, who was appointed by NEA.

As this developed, the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AMRECO), a group of all power cooperatives in Mindanao, had acknowledged Daneco under the supervision of NEA. Its president Sergio Dagooc told reporters last week that they were calling member-consumers of Daneco to patronize only the Daneco under NEA and not the Daneco-CDA group.

Last April 30, 2012 the NEA’s five-man Board of Administrators chaired by Dept. of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras dismissed all the 9 respondent directors and a former OIC GM after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

Dismissed were board president Dean Briz, board treasurer Ananias Darjan Jr, and director-members Brendo Ceniza, Miguel Fermil, Roberto Binasbas, Eugenio Ramonida, Roman Calicdan, Roberto Alam, and Engr. Dan Gervacio, and the former OIC GM Felix Hibionada.

In that order, NEA only suspended former OIC GM Nelson Balangan for 30 days after he was found guilty of simple neglect of duty. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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