Archive for daneco

Daneco-CDA suffers new blow in CA’s denial of motion to quash

Posted in inc problem with tags on December 25, 2014 by cha monforte

aug 16, 2014

In another deadening setback, the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative- Cooperative Development Authority (Daneco-CDA) group failed to get a nod from the Court of Appeals in their motion to quash its seven earlier resolutions and the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) favoring Daneco-NEA group. 
Associate Justice Edgardo Camello of the Court of Appeals (Special) 22nd Division based in Cagayan de Oro City denied the group’s motion to quash the resolutions and the WPI in 7-page decision promulgated last July 31, 2014.
 
The court’s decision was received by Daneco-NEA legal counsel Jeorge Rapista just last Tuesday.
 
The CA’s WPI issued last Aug. 29, 2012, prohibited Daneco-CDA’s respondents from “further exercising powers as members of the Board of Directors, or as responsible officers”, necessarily also their agents and representatives.
 
In the latest decision, the CA particularly denied to Daneco-CDA’s consolidated motion for reconsideration to certiorari suit filed by NEA Administrator Editha Bueno relating to cases that included issues on the legality of subsequent board of directors and management officials of the Daneco-CDA and on the issue on the temporary restraining order issued by RTC 3 Nabunturan Judge Hilarion Clapis stemming from NEA’s administrative case that dismissed members of the board of directors in 2011. 
 
In the two protagonists’ lengthy legal battle on who is legitimate between them to operate and control the management of the billionaire electric cooperative servicing Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, Daneco-CDA appeared to be the party in the seven CA cases that appealed, motioned for reconsideration and sought to quash adverse court rulings against them one after another.
 
Even then, Daneco-CDA group ignored the WPI and continued operating and collecting payments for electricity bills from member-consumers, citing their CDA registration is not revoked yet and that cases where they lost are still on appeal at the Supreme Court.
 
Earlier, Daneco-CDA media consultant Nilo Lariosa said they have “secured a status quo anti order from a Court of  Appeals in Manila prohibiting Daneco-NEA, NEA and other parties from making detrimental actions against (them).”
 
In an interview, Atty. Rapista said that Daneco-CDA’s motion to quash, which was denied already, “is an admission on their part that there is really a WPI issued against them, which prohibited them from performing functions and from operating.”
 
Already, Daneco-CDA group’s main office in Tagum City and all its collection centers dispersed in various sites in the two provinces have been closed in the recent weeks by the National Electrification Electrification implementing its Cease and Desist Order (CDO) issued last Dec. 13, 2013. NEA enforcement officers were backed up by a dozen of provincial policemen.
 
NEA premised its CDO on the CA’s standing WPI and its quasi-judicial power to issue CDO on Republic Act. No. 10531, the revised NEA Charter Law, which provides that all electric cooperatives should be under its supervisory and disciplinary powers. 
 
Rapista said that they are constantly monitoring whether Daneco-CDA group would try to open up collection centers amid a continuing implementation of NEA’s CDO.(Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)
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DANECO-NEA only to manage DANECO in DOE-forged agreement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 6, 2013 by cha monforte

sept 12-18, 2013

In dramatic turn of events, an agreement was reached by key stakeholders to put the conflict- and debt-plagued Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative into one management only and it is the Daneco-National Electrification Administration which should and not the Daneco-Cooperative Development Authority starting the coming September 1.
In a conference initiated by the Department of Energy and NEA board chairman Carlos Jericho Petilla last Aug. 30, Friday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao , governors, congressmen, mayors, CDA officials and the officials of the two electric coop factions engaged in a hostile two-year row agreed to put Daneco’s management under the Daneco-NEA entity. It followed after the Court of Appeals handed its 39-page decision last August 22, 2013 that ruled many things to favor Daneco-NEA.
Petilla informed conference attendees on the need to have one management to immediately respond to the rising power supply payables of Daneco, stressing that there is an urgent need to avert Daneco suffering the same fate with the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) which earlier had its power disconnected by Power Sectors Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM).
Attending the conference were CDA Chairman Emmanuel M. Santiaguel, NEA Administrator Editha Bueno, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and his Vice Gov. Victorio Suaybaguio Jr, Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and his Vice Gov. Manuel Zamora, Comval Cong. Maricar Zamora and Cong. Rommel Amatong, Davao del Norte Cong. Antonio Lagdameo Jr, 1-CARE partylist representatives Edgardo Masongsong and Michael Angelo Rivera, and the management and board officers of Daneco-NEA and of Daneco-CDA.
Conference attendees also expressly agreed that both the factions would be subjected to a mandatory financial audit by an audit them to be composed of auditors from NEA and CDA, which would be continuing even after the Sept. 1 assumption of Daneco-NEA as the sole management of Daneco.
“A referendum would also be conducted on the second week of January 2014 to finally resolve whether Daneco’s member-consumers would opt to be stock cooperative or not, strictly following the law and its procedures on how to duly conduct a referendum on conversion of electric cooperatives,” said Gregorio Ybanez, chairman of the board of Daneco-NEA’s directors.
Mayors present also agreed to campaign to member-consumers in their respective areas to pay to Daneco-NEA.
“With the expressed agreement, this means that Daneco-CDA will die a natural death because it can no longer function after August 31, 2013,” Ybanez added.
Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (Amreco) president Sergio Dagooc hailed the agreement reached as the “ultimate solution” to pestering problem besetting Daneco.
The Daneco-CDA faction sprang up after NEA in April 2012 dismissed nine members of Daneco’s previous board of directors and former OIC general manager after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty. Those dismissed were initiating to convert Daneco into stock cooperative.
Daneco-CDA faction sought refuge under the CDA after it conducted its own series of referendum where they claimed the option of converting into stock cooperative won. It was was assailed in court by Daneco-NEA.
The Court of Appeals 23rd Division ruled last May 10, 2013 recognizing solely Daneco-NEA and its officers as the legitimate representatives of Daneco pending resolution of an consolidated special proceeding case pertaining to the legality of Daneco-CDA faction and its CDA registration.
DANECO covers the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley serving 160,601 member-consumers.
Once a top performing electric cooperative, it is now currently considered an ailing electric cooperative beset with myriad of problems because of the two factions competing.
It turns out, however, that Daneco-CDA is not paying its power obligations as it does not remit its collections to Daneco’s coffers, even while it is not recognized by other government agencies such as the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Since Daneco-CDA has not remitted its obligations for consolidation of payments, it is Daneco-NEA which pays power obligations but is unable to pay the full amount due to the situation.
Todate, Daneco has an outstanding power accounts obligations to power suppliers PSALM, NCGP and Therma Marine amounting to over P300 million. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

What if the illegitimate Daneco-CDA is outlawed?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 13, 2013 by cha monforte

aug 22-28, 2013

HASHTAGS BREW

By Cha Monforte

That’s the big question lingering in the minds of those innocent member-consumers who have paid to illegitimate Daneco-CDA. In the midst of the fight which is legal or not- Daneco-NEA or Daneco-CDA?- they chose to pay to the latter because of the low electricity rates it bills all because it does not include in its billing the penalties, surcharges, taxes and other rightful charges.

It appears now that when they paid to the illegitimate  Daneco-CDA they were paying the bill that has incorporated violations of taxation, ERC, NEA and BIR laws and rules, and hence unwitting member-consumers hoodwinked by the scheme to sway more members to the side of the illegitimate Daneco-CDA were innocently dragged by the ring leaders of coop putschists into breaking laws.

The problem in their payments to the illegitimate Daneco-CDA is that supposed power bill payments do not go for the payment of power obligations to PSALM, Therma Marine and NGCP. The so-called Daneco-CDA board chairman Abenir Labja nonetheless claimed during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session last June 10 that for once it did pay NGCP, and so it paid only for once for the cost of power transmission, not of power supply.

It’s all but the Daneco-NEA that has been paying for the power supply obligations since the group dismissed by NEA for abuse of authority staged a sort of coup at the pretext of converting into stock cooperative July last year. Where have all the Daneco-CDA’s collections gone even as they claimed in their own press conferences and releases they have already audited financial statements, which particulars were not leaked to the media? Publish it and we’ll scrutinize.

The other big problem in the illegitimate faction’s carting away of Daneco’s functions, chief of these is the collection, is the generation of additional costs and burdens  such as the fat salaries of its management and consultants, honoraria and allowances of its board of directors, expenditures in the creation of idle barangay collection centers including the security guards and manpower manning these, the high costs of continuing suits and lawyers’ fees, the expenditures for the questioned series of referendum and general assemblies, expenses for their propaganda and media mileage and the untold costs to all those pro-Daneco-CDA campaigning in the barangays. They have less if not none for the power maintenance and capital investment expenditures?  If Labja claimed in that SP session that they averaged to collect P10-11 million a month, did most of this income go only to these activities that try to break, destroy and swallow up the mother legitimate entity, the Daneco-NEA leaving them so scarce to pay for its power supply obligations? The payments of the innocents did not go to the coffers of real Daneco (for now, comparatively called as Daneco-NEA).

What if the Court of Appeals rules to outlaw the Daneco-CDA faction? Come now the corollary questions:

1. Will those innocents who paid to Daneco-CDA  charge the coop putschist ring leaders to be responsible for all what they paid lesser and for the shortages that covered for the unbilled taxes, penalties and other due and rightful charges as all their payments to the Daneco-CDA are treated by the Daneco-NEA as still all payables?

2. If the payments of the innocents are considered, for consideration’s sake, what if the Daneco-CDA has actually charged basic and minimum rates lesser than what is charged by Daneco-NEA as approved by the ERC (that’s not counting the penalties, etc)?

3. Will the Daneco-NEA and NEA allow that all those expenses incurred by Daneco-CDA to break, destroy and swallow the mother unit up as just quits while their coop putschist ring leaders go scotfree and the former will just move on as one revived Daneco for peace’s sake, charged to experience, as long as the latter is dissolved?

The legitimacy of the Daneco-CDA has long been questioned while it has only blinking color of legality as when it first got CDA registration, that was subsequently temporarily suspended and then surprisingly lifted by one person only, the CDA chairman, even while there’s an existing Writ of Preliminary Injunction from the Court of Appeals, from where the temporary suspension of the CDA registration was premised on. Second, when it got an either-or ruling from RTC Branch 1 Judge Virginia Tehano-Ang, who – my momma- gave member-consumers the option where they would pay their electric bills to any of the two fighting factions, and hey, it’s just OK pending the resolution on the issue of legality and CDA registration. Third, when the good judge again ordered the BIR to give to her sala the BIR-authorized OR to be distributed to both even while the CA already ordered her to no longer make any further proceeding on six special proceeding cases relating Daneco to avoid more confusions and complications.

Evidently, Daneco-CDA’s claims of legitimacy can easily be shattered by the fact that it is not the entity recognized by the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) and its electric rates have not been approved by the ERC in the first place. Recently, the BIR vouched that it is only recognizing Daneco-NEA and not the so-called Daneco-CDA in the matter of printing and issuing official receipts. So Judge Ang has to cite BIR for contempt now? BIR’s affirmation followed the earlier recognition of other agencies such as the depository banks, the LGUs and all other national government agencies, which pay their electric bills to which else but Daneco-NEA. Daneco-CDA might have blinking color of legality, but it is not legitimate as it is not legitimately recognized by authorities.

More importantly, Daneco-CDA is not recognized by   the true father of electric coops nationwide- the NEA (National Electrification Administration), which is now given more supervisory, disciplinary and step-in powers after the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the  recent National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013 (Republic Act 10531), which amended the NEA Charter (Presidential Decree 269), was issued last week. Middle this month the IRR would become effective and we’ll expect a NEA takeover anytime soonest to One Daneco which has been ailed by its separatist part.

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TAGS & HASHES: Congrats to Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon for materializing the long-clamoured indigenous representation to the city sanggunian in the first monthsary of his new administration…. Last August 1, Datu Rudy Onlos, half Mansaka and half Mandaya in blood, took oath as the newest member of the City Council. It all takes a political will to do it. It was a historic first monthsary act of PDPian Mayor Rellon…. It appears that Gov. RDR pulled a fast one to the PCL election result when he caused for the entry of Datu Pandian to the SP. He put one more IP vote for the LP to still edge out the Busog Baryohanon’s 1 more PCL vote.

Cong. AGR clueless on DANECO’s goings on

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 8, 2012 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Cong. Anthony “AGR” del Rosario

Davao del Norte Representative Anthony del Rosario (District 1) confided that he does not really know what is going on in the presently division-wracked Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) that serves electricity to his legislative district.

Speaking as guest of Kapihan sa Kapitolyo Thursday, Nov. 8, at the provincial Capitol in Tagum City, Congressman Del Rosario said that he really does not know that the problem in Daneco remains unsolved.

He said he thought that the problem was solved already when he was recently informed that the rural electrification fund worth P30 million he requested from the Dept. of Energy would already be released.

The congressman bared that about one month and half ago he met former DOE Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to follow up his fund request, but the latter told him that the fund could not be released due to the problem in Daneco.

Almendras was replaced last Nov. 4 by resigned Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla, who until press time has yet to intervene in Daneco’s state of affairs. Almendras was reassigned as secretary to the Cabinet.

Cong. Del Rosario said that knowing such DOE’s fund release advice he was assuming that the problem in Daneco was already through, but he added that it was only Thursday upon reading local newspapers that he knew that the problem still persists.

The congressman though said that while he knew that the National Electrification Administration (NEA) “is authorized” to make collections of power bill payments, “I really don’t know with regards (to the) side of the CDA (Cooperative Development Authority)”.

“I guess the basic question really here is whether or not the CDA is authorized?… If it’s authorized, then there’s nothing wrong with it. If not, there’s a problem. I can’t give an answer. I’m not with CDA,” the congressman said.

“It is the CDA head office which could answer on this,”he said, adding that the Daneco problem has to be ironed out and that there is a need to talk to different agencies to solve it.

For over six months now, Daneco has been reeling from a divisive tug-of-war between two contending groups of officials labeled as “Daneco-NEA” and “Daneco-CDA” resulting to the formation of two managements and two sets of board of directors competing to collect power bill obligations from same member-consumers.

Daneco-NEA group controls yet the Daneco’s main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley, while the Daneco-CDA group is holding at bay Daneco’s Tagum office at Tipaz, Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Last April, NEA ordered the dismissal of 10 Daneco officials after finding them guilty in an administrative charge filed by a group of member-consumers while the officials were about to launch series of referendum to convert Daneco into stock cooperative under CDA.

The NEA-sacked officials, already collectively labeled as Daneco-CDA group, engaged with NEA in court battles, and openly defied court orders as they nixed NEA’s power to supervise Daneco claiming that they were already under CDA when they had it registered already with CDA last May 21,2012. The CDA however suspended Daneco’s CDA registration last September 28, but the group continued and made a special general assembly last Oct. 21, still rooting as stock cooperative.

As this developed, the row between two groups has turned bloody and violent when men belonging to Daneco-CDA group reportedly stormed the Daneco office manned by Daneco-NEA group in the Island Garden City of Samal dawn last Monday.

IGACOS police said that seven persons were arrested after they tried to takeover the Daneco office and wounded its guard when suspects fired guns after they suddenly arrived at the office vicinity in several vehicles including motorcycles.

Suspects led by Gil Florenosos, former chief of the Daneco-Samal office, denied the charges, saying they were repairing a transformer when they were arrested and slapped with frustrated murder charges. The seven workers have posted bail.

Last Oct. 22 the Daneco-NEA group also sent a letter to the Tagum City government advising the latter to no longer pay its monthly power obligations to Daneco-CDA office at Tipaz and any of its collection centers to avoid disconnection of electric service.

The letter was signed by Benedicto Ongking, OIC-general manager, Atty. Jeorge Rapista, legal counsel of the Daneco-NEA group, and NEA project supervisor Evangelito Estaca.

Reports said that the city government has been paying at least P1.7 million monthly for its power obligations to Daneco Tagum office and not to Apokon and Mirafuentes substations where the Daneco-NEA group temporarily hold office.

But Mayor Rey T. Uy told reporters that the city government would continue paying at the Tipaz office, which he said is the registered business office of Daneco. He questioned Daneco-NEA’s threat of disconnection saying that “what is important is there’s payment, either NEA or CDA, as long as there’s receipt.”

The Daneco-NEA group also informed the public to pay not to Daneco-CDA office or face disconnection.

But Daneco-CDA legal counsel Glenn Blair Carnicer downplayed the threat saying that the Daneco-NEA group has no authority to disconnect. He vowed to give legal assistance to sue those who would disconnect the power service of those who paid to Daneco-CDA.

The Daneco-NEA group claimed that it is they who have been paying Daneco’s power obligations to PSALM, NGCP and the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine and not the Daneco-CDA. – Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte

NEWSFEATURE: “DANECO-CDA” vs “DANECO-NEA”: The tug-of-war between 2 electric coops in 1

Posted in daneco-cda, daneco-nea with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by cha monforte

(1st in two parts)

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

 The latest in the divisive conflict raging inside the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) is that a group is now waving a white flag with a big “if” emblazoned on it.

The group of officials of Daneco who have taken control of the Daneco’s Tagum office have promised to resign come the Oct. 21 special general they had earlier called for.

In a press conference last Tuesday held at Daneco Tagum office at Tipaz, Barangay East, Tagum City, board director Engr. Abiner Labja and “Daneco-CDA” OIC general manager Reynaldo Bandala both echoed their group’s position of resigning but on the condition that the Daneco member-consumers would accede to it.

The group controlling what they called as “Daneco-CDA” in their aggressive bid to put Daneco under the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and bolt from the control and supervision of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has recently faced a problem that might empty them of legality to further hold on when the CDA itself suspended Daneco’s CDA registration pending resolution of a case filed before the Court of Appeals (CA).

Since July the “Daneco-CDA” group has been holding on Daneco Tagum office and its entire management over Tagum office’s area of jurisdiction in Davao del Norte including the collection of power bill payments, leaving the Compostela Valley area under the management of “Daneco-NEA” based at the main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley. NEA designated an employee Benedicto Ongking as the OIC GM to work side by side with the NEA Project Supervisor Evangelito Estaca.

But later most of Daneco Tagum office’s regular employees deserted their pro-CDA management, went to “Daneco-NEA” side and started collecting payments for power bills using the hot open areas of power substations in the city as their temporary offices.

Before they left they downed the server of computers in the office and carted away the computer program containing the vast records of member-consumers.

Since then Tagum City has become an arena in the tug-of-war of collection activities of two contesting “Daneco-CDA” and “Daneco-NEA” groups or managements, creating confusions to among member-consumers in the Tagum and Davao del Norte areas as two different electric bills come arriving in energized households.

CDA REGISTRATION

In an order dated September 28, CDA chairman Emmanuel Santiaguel ordered for the suspension of Daneco’s CDA Certification of Registration No. 9520-11021778, issued on May 21, 2012.

The CDA also directed “all persons” acting by virtue of the certificate of registration to “cease and desist from further performing and exercising their powers and functions.”

But in last Tuesday’s press conference, the group called on Santiaguel to recall his suspension order and stand for the conversion of Daneco into stock cooperative, which they claimed to have already been realized when member-consumers voted an “overwhelming” 49,056 yes votes in favor to CDA as against the 1,773 votes for NEA in a series of referendum held last May.

A large majority of Daneco’s employees however, went against the CDA, as they preferred NEA to continue supervising the 41-year old electric cooperative. They claimed that the referenda were sham and were rushed to save the board and management officials who were subject of dismissal by NEA due to an administrative case they were facing.

Daneco has over 125,000 member-consumers and is considered to be the biggest business in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, its franchise area, less the towns of Carmen, Sto. Tomas and BE Dujali and Panabo City in Davao del Norte, which are catered by the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Corporation. In 2011 Daneco generated a total revenue of P1.8 billion.

Also, Atty. Glenn Blair Carnicer, legal counsel of the “Daneco-CDA” group, assailed Santiaguel’s action as violative to Section 67 of Republic Act No. 9520, otherwise known as Cooperative Code of the Philippines, saying that the order was bereft of CDA board resolution.

DEFIANT

But the “Daneco-CDA” group for all their aggressive legal recourses, legal-procedural filibustering to court orders and open defiance to be booted from their posts since April had managed to foil last Oct. 3 the attempt of a sheriff backed up by a group of provincial policemen in full battle gear to implement a WPI (writ of preliminary injunction) from the Court of Appeals for the group to give way and turnover the management of Daneco Tagum City office.

On that day, sheriff Renato Suarez of the Regional Trial Court Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley arrived at the vicinity of Daneco Tagum office and served the order to Bandala.

Reports said that prior the serving, the sheriff, accompanied by policemen led by Davao del Norte provincial police director PSSupt. Edgardo Wycoco and armed security guards from the Security Agency and Guard Supervision Section, disarmed the security guards from Christian Investigative and Security Agency (CISA) manning the office and drove out customers.

A group of Daneco employees were also reportedly lurking around to support the supposed takeover via a sheriff’s order.

But the “Daneco-CDA” group resisted, stood their ground and particularly Atty. Carnicer, fuming mad, ordered office employees to physically bar the sheriff and his group, reports added.

They insisted the sheriff carried no order for takeover but only the ouster of Bandala.

After that, the group cried harassment and vowed to file a case against the sheriff and his company. Suarez group reportedly backed out to avoid violence from breaking out due to heated atmosphere.

Bandala insisted however that the sheriff carried an order that had no signatures of associate justices.

Bandala said Tuesday that while the WPI is not yet around he would continue serving as the OIC GM.

THE COMPLAINT

In October 2011, a group of seven member-consumers lodged an administrative complaint to NEA containing some 11 allegations involving anomalous biddings and disbursements, overpricing in the purchase of substation, unauthorized claims, questionable policy decisions, defiance to NEA’s regulatory powers, among others.

The complainant-member consumers who lodged the case docketed as NEA ADM Case No. 01-10-11 were Gregorio Ybanez, Khernie Bahan, Epifanio Alfeche, Paulito Villaceran, Jr., George Monares, Juan Esperanza and Arnold Dinopol.

Respondents 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 two former OIC GMs Nelson Balangan and Felix Hibionada.

Directors Alam and Gervacio later swore as pro-NEA and dissociated from the group although both had to be dismissed the same.

On 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 former OIC GM Hibionada after they were found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

The dismissal carries the other penalties such as cancellation of eligibility to run for the position of electric cooperative director, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for re-employment in any rural EC.

NEA only suspended Balangan for 30 days after he was found guilty of simple neglect of duty.

The termination came a few days before the scheduled referendum on May 5 and 6, May 12 and 13 and May 19 and 20, which the group pursued contrary to NEA’s order to hold the referendum in abeyance.

The referendum would ask member-consumers whether they would go for the conversion of Daneco as stock cooperative under CDA, for status quo under NEA or as stock corporation under the Securities and Exchange Commission. (TO BE CONTINUED) (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte with various news reports)

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NEWSFEATURE

“DANECO-CDA” vs “DANECO-NEA”: The tug-of-war between 2 electric coops in 1

(Last in two parts)

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Despite the dismissal order of NEA, the terminated officials belonging to “Daneco-CDA” group refused to vacate from their posts. They banked on the assertion that they were still on motion for the reconsideration even as they demanded for a formal hearing on their case in a court.

They cried injustice claiming that under their watch Daneco has become financially and operationally stable compared to the previous two managements.

The Daneco Board submitted a motion to conduct a formal hearing on the case against them since there only two hearings held- a mandatory hearing which was held on January 26, 2012 and a Clarificatory Hearing held on March 12, 2012.

However, even before a resolution was reached, the NEA Board of Administrators issued a memorandum on March 20, 2012 stating that the case is deemed submitted for resolution. Despite appeals from Daneco Board, they were terminated on May 2, 2012, three days prior to the scheduled referendum.

The holding-out group is not without political backing. Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy did not hide their support for the conversion of Daneco into stock cooperative and to the pro-CDA group.

Besides, the “Daneco-CDA” management found support from some partylist representatives such as Rep. Cresente C. Paez of COOP-NATCCO and Rep. Nicanor M. Briones of the AGAP Partylist, who made privilege speech regarding Daneco’s situation in Congress. Both assailed the interference, bias, partiality, and manipulation of NEA to Daneco.

Supporting partylist representatives talked about how NEA moves in not giving up electric cooperatives so easily to become real cooperatives like eating peanuts as against the EPIRA law, and on how NEA has been making ECs in the country as their milking cows.

Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, on the other hand, seems to be ambivalent and neutral to the Daneco issue until at press time.

TROs

The dismissed officials then applied for a 72-hour temporary restraining order before RTC Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. On May 3, the court granted the TRO on the NEA decision.

Because of the supposed termination of the members of the board, NEA Administrator Editha Bueno issued a memorandum to Daneco on May 4, 2012, in the afternoon instructing the deferment of the scheduled referendum. It was defied by the group.

The first round of referendum on May 5 for the towns of Maco, Mabini, Pantukan, Maragusan and Mawab in Compostela Valley did not materialize as Daneco employees tasked to supervise the referendum did not show up. The “Daneco-CDA” group cried sabotage.

However, other referendum proceeded as scheduled as the group excluded the opposing employees from the tasks. Towards midway there was a TRO from an RTC in Tagum City issued to stop the referendum but just the same it was defied by the “Daneco-CDA” group.

In late July RTC Branch 3 Executive Judge Hilaron Clapis Jr after extending twice the original 72-hour TRO to 30 days then 20 days, further issued an injunction against the NEA for its order of termination rendered against the members of the board.

This prompted a complainant group to file a motion requesting the CA to issue a TRO against the order of the RTC Branch 3 and later applied for an issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

1st TAKEOVER ATTEMPT

On June 30, Saturday, armed with TRO from CA, the “Daneco-NEA” group led by NEA Deputy Administrator Ed Piamonte, Estaca and pro-NEA Daneco directors Rodolfo Ang, Gervacio and Rolando Bugas, former Daneco OIC GM Allan Laniba and complainant Gregorio Ybañez, their legal counsels and opposing Daneco employees tried but failed to make a takeover of Daneco Tagum office. It was the eve of the special general assembly called by the “Daneco-CDA” group on Sunday at Maco gym.

Leaders of “Daneco-CDA” group led by their spokesman ex-Congressman Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora hotly contested the TRO in five-hour intense negotiations.

The group reportedly forced their way to enter the office premises, breaking up the steel chains that tied the closed gates. Presence of police and military on guard outside the office compound was noted.

Zamora and his counsel argued that the 60-day TRO could not be served by the lawyers but by the court sheriff. They also said that the TRO only prohibited the 9 directors from performing and it did not specifically state they had to make a takeover. Gov. Uy and Mayor Uy later arrived in the scene.

The July 1 special general assembly was hailed by the “Daneco-CDA” group as the first of Daneco under a CDA regime when set of officers were swore in, and requirements for CDA registration were confirmed. There are least 8,000 member-consumers attending it, though opposing Daneco employees alleged that most of whom were barrio folks ferried thru hakot system. 

In evident reprisal, on July 4, the “Daneco-CDA” management put 57 employees under preventive suspension without pay for 30 days. On the next days, the suspended employees started encamping for a picket infront the Daneco office at Tipaz.

GOV-SEC AGREMENT

On June 6, Gov. Uy, Energy Secretary Almendras and the late DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo reportedly met in Manila to try solving Daneco’s worsening conflict.

On July 9 upon his return to his province Gov. Uy bared to the public that he and the secretaries agreed for the meantime that while there was a TRO the 9 dismissed directors and Hibionada would not hold office, and at the latter’s stead employee Reynaldo Bandala would have to be the OIC GM. He would work jointly with NEA Project Supervisor Estaca. Bandala is a protégé of Hibionada.

On the same day, Uy then instructed Bandala to order for a return to work of the 57 employees whom Hibionada and company suspended without pay for thirty days.

It was said that this interregnum had freed the P80 million on joint account with Estaca as co-signatory to pay for the power bill obligations to PSALM.  NATCCO Partylist Rep. Paez  in his privilege speech last September 3 bared that Daneco  had pending P106-million obligations to PSALM and P34 million to the National Grid Corporation.

“While the cooperative holds P160 million from its collections in May and in June, which is now in its new depository bank, EastWest Bank, it cannot dispense the fund properly as there is an interpleading case on who should be the signatory for bank transactions of the cooperative,” Paez said.

Earlier, NEA Administrator Bueno specifically wrote the managers of the United Coconut Planters Bank and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Daneco’s depository banks, authorizing Estaca to sign and countersign all checks and other banking transactions of Daneco.

But just a few days when Bandala and Estaca were assumed to work jointly, on July 10 NEA administrator Bueno, who was visiting Daneco with DOE Undersecretary Ina Magpale Asirit, appointed Ongking as Daneco OIC GM, violating the reported agreement between Sec. Almendras and Gov. Uy. She also issued a memo terminating newly-hired job-order employees.

But before Ongking could warm his seat at Daneco Tagum office, the “Daneco-CDA” group moved in and seized the control and management of the Daneco Tagum office with Bandala as its OIC GM. They vowed to bar Estaca and his agents from entering Daneco Tagum premises.

On July 15 at the prodding of “Daneco-CDA” group some 300 people claiming to be member-consumers held a rally infront the tightly-guarded Daneco main office at Montevista. They wanted NEA to leave Daneco, declaring that Daneco is already under CDA. The protesters were however countered by Daneco employees praying rosary.

Sketchy reports swirled that the “Daneco-CDA” group with their CISA guards was out to forcibly barge in the Montevista office but was held at bay by the “Daneco-NEA” group’s own guards and rosary-praying employees.

Meantime, it was then when the Tagum employees returned to work that they shortly deserted to go to the “Daneco-NEA” management and worked for the separate collection of power bill payments from member-consumers. They made a good break as earlier they had been posing overt and covert internal resistance to their pro-CDA management in the areas of cash deposits, withdrawals, vaults and account signatories.

As most regular employees of Daneco Tagum office left the pro-CDA management, the “Daneco-CDA” group was accused to have employed new job-order employees in what appeared as scabs-like employment.

CA’s INJUNCTION

Later, the “Daneco-NEA” group secured a new legal victory at the CA when in a 15-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap and issued last August 29, the CA granted the application for a writ of preliminary injunction.

In her ruling, Yap said the member-consumers gave “more persuasive reasons” to grant the injunction “because the respondents, particularly Hibionada, occupied and took over the Daneco despite the issuance of TRO.”

It added that the respondents also appointed Rey Bandala as Daneco’s OIC general manager, who collects payments from the member-consumers.

“Whether true or not, this enforces the necessity for issuance of a WPI (writ of preliminary injunction). We cannot afford a scenario, that while the main case is pending, two contending factions will control Daneco,” the order read.

“This will obviously be detrimental to Daneco as an institution and to its member-consumers,” Yap said in her ruling.

However, the petitioners and the sheriff of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley alleged that the injunction was not enforced since Bandala refused to heed the resolution as it did not specifically prohibit those acting for in behalf of the dismissed employees.

Thus, the “Daneco-NEA” group asked the CA for a revised injunction. In a nine-page resolution promulgated on September 26 and signed by Associate Justices Marilyn B. Lagura-Yap, Edgardo A. Camello and Renato C. Francisco, the appellate court amended its previous resolution, which prohibited some members of the board of directors of the cooperative from performing their tasks, by including a certain Rey Bandala.

In the previous resolution, it only stated that Bandala was appointed by the respondents as Daneco’s OIC general manager, who collects payments from the members-consumers.

The CA ruled that the sheriff shall continue its authority to serve the second resolution issued by the CA that includes Bandala in the injunction.

STRANGE EVENTS

Meanwhile, in strange and separate turn of events, the NEA-designated OIC GM Ongking was shot but was unharmed last August 15 by still unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants in tandem while he was delivering his child to school in Tagum City. His driver sustained gunshot wound in his hand. The Tagum police is still clueless on the motive of Ongking’s shooting at press time.

Earlier, Judge Clapis was dismissed from service for conducting bail hearings without petition for bail filed by an accused in a criminal case.

In a 16-page decision promulgated on July 17, Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and other 13 associate justices dismissed Judge Hilarion P. Clapis Jr. of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley for gross misconduct and gross ignorance of the law.

WORRIES

As the two groups continue in their legal, management and collection tug-of-war, not a few member-consumers are asking which group will pay for the millions-worth power bill obligations of Daneco to PSALM and the National Grid Corporation due for the Tagum and Davao del Norte areas.

And despite intense pressures from the Palace-connected “Daneco-NEA” management and the visibly tightening legal noose to “Daneco-CDA” management, there is a question on whether the latter can still stretch time and the limits of defying court orders to continue clinging to guarded posts when the sheriff would return to them one of these days. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte with various news reports)

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Rural Urban News (RUN) is a blog-based community news and narrative reportage advocacy group promoting web-based citizen journalism. https://cha4t.wordpress.com. contact cp no. 09392218348.

DANECO GM, prexy suspect NEA to abort referendum to convert into coop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 7, 2012 by cha monforte

april 23-29, 2012

Top officials of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (DANECO) are wary at press time over the possibility of facing a National Electrification Administration’s move of aborting the scheduled holding of the referendum on May 5 to 6 for the conversion of DANECO as a cooperative with stock ownership of members pursuant to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).
DANECO, with its over 140,000 member-consumers, is yet the biggest electric cooperative in Mindanao that is trying bolt from the clutches of NEA’s regulatory powers by “defecting” to Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
DANECO OIC general manager Felix Hibionada, in an interview, said that he and the rest of officials who are respondents to a case lodged by a group of consumers late last year have expressed apprehension that NEA might just render a quick decision of that case to preempt and abort the next week’s scheduled referendum of DANECO members to choose whether to remain under the control of NEA or “to be real cooperative” registered with the CDA.
Hibionada decried over recent NEA move of denying their motion for formal hearing of the case lodged against DANECO’s nine board and management officials.
The complaint included allegations on anomalous biddings and funds’ misuse.
He said that NEA had only conducted one mediation and one clarificatory conference between the two parties and “then it (NEA) would immediately and unjustly render judgment against us because we are going to CDA?”
He said the respondents had moved that there would be formal hearing of the case as complainants had only lodged one position paper with many attached photocopied and inadmissible documents.
He said that NEA had not fully exhausted probing them about the raised allegations to have due process and their rights would surely be violated without that formal hearing before NEA would decide.
In the event of contrary judgment, the OIC general manager said they would still resort for relief remedy in court.
The general manager also clarified that it was NEA which had issued Memorandum No. 2012-001 last Dec. 27, 2011 directing electric cooperatives nationwide to launch and fast track the conduct of  public consultations and information and education campaigns (IEC) for member-consumers to make an informed decision on the issue of either remaining on status quo under NEA as non-stock cooperative, or converting into cooperative with ownership under CDA or as stock corporation under the Corporation Code as stated in Section 57 of EPIRA.
“Since 1994 we’ve been trying to be converted into real coop, but we did not prosper. Now is the time to make it for the good of DANECO,” Hibionada said.
He added that they are pushing for conversion for better DANECO, and not because there is a NEA case lodged against them.  
DANECO board president Dean Briz, in separate interview, said that under the present scheme of things under NEA, “DANECO’s hands seem to be tied up and clipped as all have to be first submitted to NEA for approval.”
“If DANECO is converted as a real cooperative, NEA will be intervening only for technical and financial assistance,” he added.
Briz said that under NEA they could not give their members as co-owners the dividends of share capital and patronage refund while DANECO could not enjoy the benefits of a CDA-registered cooperative enjoying exemptions of local and national taxes and VAT payments pursuant to Cooperative Code of 2008.
He said that the supposed shares of member-consumers have now accumulated to P87 million that remain “untouched” in the bank.
Late last year seven member-consumers lodged a complaint to NEA over at least nine allegedly anomalous, malicious, fraudulent, or questionable transactions that they stated to have been committed by nine of the 12 members of the board of directors and two top  management officers- the former DANECO OIC general manager Nelson Balangan and current OIC GM Hibionada.
The complainant-member consumers who lodged the case docketed as NEA ADM Case No. 01-10-11 were identified as Gregorio Ybanez, Khernie Bahan, Epifanio Alfeche, Paulito Villaceran, Jr., George Monares, Juan Esperanza and Arnold Dinopol.
The respondents from the board of directors were Briz, board treasurer Ananias Darjan Jr, Roberto Alam, Roman Calicdan, Brendo Ceniza, Miguel Fermil, Roberto Binasbas, Eugenio Ramonida, and Engr. Dan Gervacio.
Among the questioned major transactions related to the bidding in the changing of new security agency of DANECO, the acquisition of the P44-million 20-MVA transformer in Asuncion town substation whose brand-new quality was subsequently disputed owing to oil leaks and spillage shortly after the installation, bidding of a P5.5-million computerized system by Gellangarin Computers, allegedly hasty and diverted payment of P750,000 for the viability study on waste to energy power plant by NAANOVO Energy, Inc., abolition of the Barangay Power Associations (BAPAs), and allegedly unauthorized claims of DANECO board of directors’ members for fuel, oil and lubricant allocations.
The respondents alleged that several of the transactions had violated NEA standing policies and procedures such as the requirement of seeking prior NEA review, approval or confirmation before cash releases, contract or project executions.
Meanwhile, the management’s sudden move to have the referendum has spawned apprehensions from the employees’ ranks. The sought referendum was already postponed twice last February and April.
DANECO employee Emmanuel Pineda said that the employees favor NEA’s retention as it would act to help whatever bad that would happen to DANECO through NEA’s great money for loaning and subsidy to electric cooperatives.
“Besides NEA can sanction abusive and erring officials of electric cooperatives,” he added.
In separate interview, the United Daneco Employees Welfare Association president Ruweno Ormido said that they favor the retention of NEA as DANECO’s regulatory body, but “we will respect whatever the outcome of the referendum provided that the member-consumers have been well-informed.”
Skeptics however doubt that the management could muster the required 20 percent or over 28,000 “yes” votes as they foresee a lack of member voters on the two-day referendum.
As this developed, the NEA decision is eagerly being awaited by the complainants this week while the respondents would seem to be unmoving over rumors of them being suddenly dismissed by NEA leaving only possible three members of the board of directors unscathed and with no GM in command.
The NEA though had assigned a Project Supervisor (PS) at DANECO Tagum office to oversee the DANECO operations over three months ago following the lodging of the case.
“That rumor has been running for a quite a time. We’re waiting for NEA’s decision. Until now we haven’t received yet any,” OIC GM HIbionada said Monday.
An affected board of director said on the condition of anonymity that the majority in the board of directors would not take their possible dismissal sitting down, threatening they would stage people power of sort with the back up of supportive elected officials to physically block NEA’s takeover of DANECO. (cha monforte)

COLUMN: Anonobo ano ba yan? case of Daneco

Posted in daneco, don antonio floirendo sr with tags on January 1, 2012 by cha monforte

Oct 13-19, 2011

BLOGISTA

By Cha Monforte

I first thought that a bacchanalian lunch was readied for the kibitzers the last time the local media tried to do a paparazzi during the National Electrification Administration (NEA) hearing on the allegations leveled against the former Daneco OIC GM Allan Laniba. We saw the Daneco boardroom full of pina barongs wore by who else but the directors. When we tried to sneak into the boardroom inside Daneco Tagum office we were told that the media was not allowed to cover the NEA hearing. That was the time that the NEA panel was about to arrive in Tagum, fresh from Manila. We did not protest. It was simply the prerogative of the investigating NEA panel to bar the local media from listening the proceedings of the hearing. When we were still waiting, board president Dean Briz and current OIC GM Engr. Felix Hibionada were simply cool and receptive to the media’s presence. When the side of the spectrum was still not tilted to their side over two years ago, I mean the Briz & Co., they pledged transparency.  Without the media’s coverage, the power consuming public would not know what’s happening to their billionaire power cooperative. We  hope there would be no silence as to the Anova/Inova/Anonovo/Anonobo? (ano ba yan?)case. We heard about that feasibility study on power generation out from our garbage and waste already funded by Daneco. Hope this wouldn’t loosen their tight command and control over Daneco.  But good that  the Briz-led board of directors had bared information and gave replies to media’s queries about that “leaking” Asuncion sub-station. Maybe they could also shed light on this anonobo ano ba yan? deal.  The talk was the consultant was paid with a hefty amount from Daneco coffers, something like P750,000 for the feasibility study. Now is the time of the fine gentlemen- OIC GM Hibionada and Daneco board president Briz to talk about what is that anonobo ano ba yan? Daneco case. Or the former Daneco OIC GM and IS Department head Allan Laniba might do the talking while he’s being suspended anew.

    Where is Cong. AGR now? He’s been a sought-after figure in Davao del Norte. The people missed him when he went to US for chemo and stem cell transplant. They were happy that their representative was healed of his hodgkin lymphoma cancer. But who knows there would be another relapse? We’re just humans and mortals. Heavens forbid. After the Davao del Norte founding anniversary last July we particularly did not see him anymore in the Kapihans or Bulwagan. Maybe he’s catching up works in Congress given that he was not there one full year. I remember that former Cong. Lorenzo “Enchong” Sarmiento, the patriarch, used to visit his district in Comval (D1) almost every weekend when he still had good health and stamina. I heard that former Davao del Norte District 1 Cong. Arrel Olano used to jetset every Friday night or Saturday morning just to be in his home in Tagum every weekend. May bahay naman ni kuya si Cong. Anthony del Rosario in Visayan Village, along the national highway.

We’ve heard of two boardmembers in Davao del Norte being asked this early to go back running for Tagum City Council by 2013 via the ruling LP party boat. The city council has last-termer Konsehales Tete So and Joedel Caasi and Konsehala Mylene Baura. So that So, Baura and last-termer Vice Mayor Allan Rellon would have vacant LP slots for boardmember by 2013, Boardmembers Joey Millan and Vicente “Enting” Eliot were accordingly prodded to go back to the City Council. The problem for now, a wag said, is that BM Millan was unmoved of the raw proposition, thus sending a message to a top political honcho that the issue should not be talked about this early. In short, BM Millan is opposing the raw political proposition. Our source did not talk about the reaction of BM Eliot.   In my early interview, Caasi said he’d be better off working in the City Hall under a future Mayor Oyo Uy. Can BM Millan afford to rebel in the last hours against the top political honcho who made him who he is now, politically? The influential honcho is no other than Mayor Rey Uy. Maybe BM Millan can rebel- knowing his high-rated legal education radio program over K95 FM. But maybe there’s just high and fast air at the moment, and fantacizing.  As to Konsehala Baura, she’s  being considered to be Oyo’s tandem given her vast women’s votes, but as of presstime Mayor Uy isn’t yet revealing his choice. Maybe the good mayor can do a Duterte (read: run for vice mayor). But in my earlier interview with him, he said he would be better off planting trees and be plain citizen so ordinary people would ask him to join with them in their breakfast when he’d be visiting the communities he had served. Konsehal Baura has one vacant BM slot in the LP for District 1 as BM Dr. Fred de Veyra belongs to Lakas-Kampi-CMD when he alone survived in the harsh political onslaughts delivered by Gov. RDR- Mayor Cee O-Vice Gov. Baby Suaybaguio-Cong AGR-aligned LP formidable machine against the loner, former Cong. Arrel Olano-aligned Lakas butitingoy candidates in the last polls.       

Tadeco has embarked into cavendish banana plantation in Pantukan. One Pantukan wag has speculated that the Tadeco might back up candidates in the coming polls knowing its political tradition since the last Marcos era with the political kingpinship of Don Antonio Floirendo Sr. But that is in so far as Davao del Norte is concerned. The wag says that Tadeco is already growing export bananas in Pantukan in more 300 hectares. Well, that depends on Antonio Jr, Tonyboy, former congressman of Davao del Norte, second district, if makisawasaw siya sa politika sa Pantukan or Comval for that matter. But what is sure is that 2013 Pantukan candidates would really knock on the Tadeco doors for political funding for quid pro quo reason. But remember that Comval is once part of the old, undivided Davao del Norte and the Floirendo patriiarch kingpin, the known “White Hair” or “Apo” did have his heyday before – in the making and unmaking of politicians in the old Davao del Norte, now Comval  included.  (for reactions, e-mail: chamonforte@yahoo.com, txt 09392218348)