Rival DANECO factions oppose Feb. 16 referendum

Feb. 04, 2014

By Mart D. Sambalud
Davao Today

TAGUM CITY—The battle as to who controls the city’s beleaguered electric service provider tightens as officials of the two rival factions of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (DANECO) reject the referendum on February 16.

The DANECO-Cooperative Development Authority (DANECO-CDA) finds the referendum already redundant because a similar one was already conducted in 2012.

“The people have spoken already as to who will manage DANECO. We do hope that they will respect the voice of the people. Only the Supreme Court could resolve the case with finality,” Dioscoro Granada, Daneco-CDA General Manager, told Davao Today.

For DANECO-National Electrification Administration (DANECO-NEA) legal counsel, George Rapista, the referendum is “premature” and should be postponed citing legal prerequisites.

“Our group is not against the conduct of referendum because it is provided under RA 10531 but we want that it be deferred due to the pendency of the cases filed before the Court of Appeals involving the issue on the legality of the previously conducted referendum which was decided in favor of DANECO-NEA,” Rapista told Davao Today in an interview.

The CDA registered DANECO as a stock cooperative after the successful referendum last May 2012 where thousands of its member-consumers willingly voted in favor of registering DANECO with CDA.

“They (Daneco-NEA) went to court to stop the said referendum but the Court denied their motion and no case has been filed questioning the result of the said referendum,” Granada told Davao Today.

For two consecutive years, DANECO-CDA received a Certificate of Good Standing from CDA—a proof and indicator that its management is stable and in good status.

But Rapista of Daneco-NEA said the DANECO-CDA faction went on with the referendum despite a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) handed down by the Regional Trial Court in Nabunturan town, Compostela Valley on May 16, 2012. DANECO serves both Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley electric consumers.

“The CDA group defied and utterly disregarded the 72-Hour TRO. They proceeded with the conduct of the referendum and in the evening of May 20, 2012 without complying the proper procedure and non-submission of the documentary requirements, notwithstanding the noncompliance of the documentary and procedural requirements,” Rapista said.

Last year, on August 23, the Court of appeals overturned the results of the referendum and voided the election of the board of directors of the DANECO-CDA.

This bolstered the DANECO-NEA camp, and on December 23, ordered  DANECO-CDA to turn-over the management and control to the NEA, including all vehicles and other equipment.

“The implementation and compliance of all the lawful orders are necessary in order to compel compliance and demand respect from all parties particularly from the DANECO-CDA faction, to the rule of law. Otherwise, there is no assurance of exacting compliance of whatever be the result of the referendum,” Rapista said.

He added that “the best prudence dictates that NEA should await the final ruling of the Court of Appeals on the matter.” (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)

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