Daneco-NEA objects to Feb referendum to settle conflict with Daneco-CDA

jan 31, 2014

Officials of the Davao del Norte Cooperative-National Electrification Administration (Daneco-NEA) are objecting to the referendum scheduled by NEA on February 16 to finally settle the three-year running conflict with the competing Daneco-CDA (Cooperative Development Authority) faction.

They want it deferred to some other time.

The referendum would determine which faction would finally take control of the Daneco management.

Daneco-NEA legal counsel Jeorge Rapista charged Wednesday before some 200 barangay electrification association and multisectoral leaders meeting in Tagum City that there was “political pressure” made on why NEA Board of Administrators chairman and Dept. of Energy (DoE) Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla suddenly made an order for referendum while the earlier cease and desist order (CDO) of NEA against the Daneco-CDA has not yet been been implemented.

He said that the cease and desist order was issued by Petilla last December 13, 2013 and a week later Daneco-NEA received an order for referendum.

“The referendum is not the solution to Daneco’s problem but the implementation of lawful orders,” Atty. Rapista said.

He added that “accountability” has first to be made by the competing Daneco-CDA with its “financial reports audited and checked by the NEA auditors and us”, and second, an ample time and resources have to be considered.

He also slammed the provision in the implementing rules and regulations recently published in a national paper singling out Daneco to base the winning result by “plurality of votes” and not the “fifty percent (50%) plus one” provision as provided in law for all electric cooperatives.

He charged that influential politicians have exerted efforts for the conduct of referendum even when Daneco-CDA officials have not yet “accounted” what they had done with the millions of collections from power payments of member-consumers.

“We are still waiting for NEA’s cease and desist order to be served, for the Daneco-CDA to turn over all the equipment and vehicles and for them to stop collecting,” Atty. Rapista said.

Daneco-NEA officer-in-charge general manager Benedicto Ongking bared that Daneco has been draining of resources citing that Daneco-CDA faction has continued to collect electric bill payments and “to reconnect what we disconnected” from delinquent member-consumers, that as a result hindered their massive collection campaign through disconnection.

“Many members take advantage of the situation by not paying their bills, ” said Daneco-NEA board director Arnold Dinopol.

He told the convening body that in one financial statement of Daneco-CDA that they got “they incurred so big expenses for legal services and for meals and allowances of Daneco-CDA officials.”

Dinopol claimed that the NEA-CDA financial report stated P8 million incurred for legal services while Daneco-NEA in the same period when the two parties tangled in legal cases had only less than a million pesos.

He also said that since July 2012 when the conflict started it is Daneco-NEA that has been paying to Daneco’s power suppliers PSALM, Therma Marine Inc. and Engineering Equipment Inc. (EEI) Power Corp., and to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines for the transmission obligations.

He added that the referendum would cost about P6 million at the burden of Daneco.

Last December 13, 2013, Petilla issued a cease and desist order pursuant to NEA powers under Republic Act 1053 for Daneco-CDA to virtually stop operations and turn over all vehicles and other related equipment it held when it broke away from Daneco banking on its CDA registration.

There is an standing Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the Court of Appeals in August 2012 prohibiting Daneco-CDA respondent officials, their agents and representatives from further exercising powers as members of board of directors or as responsible officers of Daneco, which Daneco-CDA officials ignored as they filed an appeal on it.

But neither Daneco-CDA officials want a referendum also as they subsequently negated to the “gentleman’s agreement” between the two parties forged by the Dept. of Energy last August 23, 2013, citing that Daneco-CDA “does not recognize the existence of Daneco-NEA as legitimate” and therefore the agreement was considered as “null and void.”

After the agreement was forged, Daneco-CDA stopped collecting sometime but it resumed in October 2013.

Daneco-CDA spokesman Oliver Autor in earlier interview said that Daneco-CDA would continue collecting electric bill payments and reconnecting meters “unless and until our CDA registration is revoked.”

“They, NEA and Daneco-NEA should elevate the issue of CDA registration not at the Court of Appeals but at the Supreme Court,” he said.

Autor added that “they have to revoke first our CDA registration before we would follow the NEA’s cease and desist order.”

Mid last year Daneco-CDA board chairman Abiner Labja told the Davaop del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan that they collected an average of P10-11 million monthly, representing about 5.5 percent of Daneco’s total power consumption.

Petilla also anchored his cease and desist order on the ground that Daneco as a whole owed its power suppliers of more than P264.2 million as of November 20, 2913 and its system loss rate is “at high 18.18%” which needs to be arrested. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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