• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) yesterday recognized the legitimacy of the duly elected Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) Board of Directors led by President Jojit Yap, amid the appointment and “take over” by supposed “interim directors” of the electric cooperative, as created by MCOs (Member Consumer-Owners).
This developed as CENECO President Jojit Yap maintained that they are still the legitimate board of directors of the electric cooperative.
Atty. Vic Alvaro, NEA Project Supervisor, in a press conference with CENECO board led by Yap and acting manager, Atty. Arnel Lapore, disclosed that the operations of the EC (Electric Cooperative) are normal and unimpeded.
Thus, the MCOs should not be unduly alarmed by the reported actions of an illegitimate group claiming to be the representatives of the MCOs, Alvaro said.
Members of the EC Board are either elected or appointed but must comply with the requirements set forth by law and the pertinent NEA regulations (RA 10531 and its IRR, and NEA Memorandum No. 2014-019), he added.
There are no shortcuts to membership in the EC Board, as espoused by these impostors, Alvaro stressed.
On Thursday, the MCO Federation led by Ernie Pineda called for a special meeting and created a new set of CENECO board members to replace the group of Yap.
The interim Board of Directors, composed of Marina Trinidad for District 1, Roger Francisco for District 2, Ernie Pineda for District 4, Jose Wilson Cabus for District 6, Carry Palabrica for District 7, and Marivic Espende for District 8, led a take-over of board leadership after the contested signing of Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) on June 3 by Board President Jojit Yap, six days after the Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of CENECO MCOs.
“The outcome of the AGMA exposed the plain rejection of the JVA by the highest decision-making body of CENECO. The Board of Directors are showing that they’re already treating this cooperative as a private entity by moving forward with the signing despite concerns and opposition of its MCOs,” said MCO President Ernie Pineda.
“This is a blatant disregard for the democratic process of the body, and this abuse of power is grounds for removal of any board member under the CENECO bylaws. Director Yap did not have any authority to sign the JVA,” Pineda continued.
The attempted takeover prompted the CENECO Board led by Yap to unanimously passed resolutions condemning the act of the other group, who also removed Lapore as the acting manager. The electric cooperative management was also ordered to file charges against the other group, including employees who supported them, if evidence warrants.
Lapore questioned the authority of what he described as illegitimate group, of removing him from his position, stressing that his appointment has not been revoked by NEA.
He also vowed to impose sanctions CENECO employees, who cooperated with the illegitimate group.
The move to oust Lapore and members of the CENECO board stemmed from their approval of the Joint Venture Agreement between the electric cooperative and Primelectric Holdings Inc owned by business tycoon Enrique Razon.
JVA TRO APPLICATION JUNKED
Regional Trial Court Branch 42 Maria Lina Gonzaga has denied the application for temporary restraining order sought by petitioners, who filed for declaratory relief and declaration of nullity of the Joint Venture Agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and Primelectric Holdings Inc.
Judge Gonzaga, in her ordered dated June 22, however set the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on June 29.
In denying the sought TRO by the petitioners represented by Pepito Pico, Rommel Pido, and Aaron Sorbito as consumers and representatives of Negros Consumers’ Watch (NCW) and Convenors of Anti CENECO JVA Coalition, the judge said “for non-compliance with the specific provision of the law, the application for the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order is denied.”
CENECO acting general manager Atty. Arnel Lapore yesterday said that the JVA plebiscite will proceed as scheduled on June 24 and 25, July 1 and 2, and July 8 and 9, where 210,000 CENECO member consumers are to decide on the fate of JVA.
Lapore said they already tapped the police to maintain peace and order in all the CENECO polling centers.
Negros Occidental. Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday encouraged CENECO consumer-members to go out and vote.
“I think this is the most democratic process, in getting feedback from consumers,” Lacson said.
Along with Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, Abang Lingkod Rep. Stephen Joseph Paduano, and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, they have endorsed the CENECO-Primelectric JVA.
“Go out and vote, and decide whether we want a JVA with a private company, or not,” Lacson said.*