THE political lines that were drawn are becoming clearer. Presidential daughter and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will not run for any national position in next year’s election nor will she support the candidacies of Senator Bong Go and President Duterte. Meanwhile, Bong Go has declined his nomination as standard bearer for the PDP-Laban Cusi wing.
If these political updates will not change until the filing of certificates by the first week of October, this leaves Senator Manny Pacquiao of PDP-Laban Koko Pimentel faction as presidential nominee with Digong as vice-presidential bet. And only those who planned it know if the chips purposely fell into their places.
Since Mayor Sara will no longer run, then that leaves self-proclaimed Sara supporters who rushed to the Beneco disturbance in T-shirts bearing the presidential daughter’s name groping in the dark.
No need to worry. Voters are not running out of choices as they have the tandem of senators Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto for the highest posts, representing Reporma and NPC, respectively.
Then there is the pair of VP Leni Robredo and “yorme” Isko Moreno who are strong bets because they come from highly populated districts. Not to be left in the pandemic election campaign, the Ilocanos who are all over the Philippines and the Leytenyos have Bongbong Marcos and possible partner Alan Peter Cayetano of Manila.
I am looking at a possible scenario. If both present top honchos win again in 2022, then the world will roll upside down. We will have Leni for president and Digong as her vice. And we will hear her say, “Now, you are under me!” Blame climate change.
As I have said in a previous column, running an electric company is a serious matter and anybody who does not have the necessary training and work experience should have the common sense to discern if s/he is fit for the job or not. The Beneco BOD knows that and so does the board of administrators of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
Anybody can apply if the position is open, on the basis of listed requirements. But the first consideration of an applicant is to be honest in assessing oneself if s/he is qualified based on what is called for by the real situation on the ground.
In the written tests and oral interview, certainly questions related to the management of power generation and distribution, and the nitty-gritty in operating an electric utility, if these were asked, could have been answered by one of the applicants.
That is why Beneco member-consumers like me are interested to find out how the points gathered by both applicants and how the work experience and qualifications were factored into the selection for GM of Beneco.
Also, a general manager must have at least five years of experience with proven track record in effective management of a successful electric utility-related business enterprise, and must have held two or more senior management positions involving business leadership or managerial functions.
These provisions are found in NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035 which the NEA-BOA themselves signed in 2017.
Last week, the Committee on Energy in congress unanimously approved a resolution citing provisions saying that Beneco did not declare any vacancy in the GM’s position and that the insistence of the NEA-BOA to substitute their judgment and to select and appoint a GM for Beneco is an overreach of their powers.
The congress report said the NEA-BOA action is ultra vires (Latin, meaning “beyond the powers”). This is described as actions taken by government bodies or corporations that exceed the scope of power given to them by law.
In other words, there was a clear violation or abuse of power on the part of the NEA BOA because it is clear as glass that the discretionary power and authority to appoint a GM exclusively belongs to the BOD of the Beneco concerned and not to the NEA-BOA.
By the way, it is generally known that electric cooperatives, although supervised by NEA, are not government agencies, not government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) nor instrumentalities of government.
Being privately-owned by member-consumers, it has the freedom to manage its affairs following the principle of subsidiarity. This guarantees to a degree the privately-owned electric cooperative’s independence as a lower authority from a higher body or a central agency.
If that is so then even the President cannot appoint a GM to the privately-owned EC. For more than five years since he took oath, President Duterte talked about good governance, upholding the law and upholding due process.
In his last days in office, let him show that he is not interfering in the private management of the electric coops for himself or for anybody.
It is shameful that some people have gone to the extent of misinforming the public about the real issues on media networks and on social media. They have become desperate.
Furthermore, under Section 11 of RA 10531, the law strengthening NEA and amending PD 269, it says that an EC employee should be “of good moral character.” Well, I was told that one of the applicants is a very good family man.
RA 10531 further states that applicants or officers should be a member of the electric cooperative in good standing for the last five years immediately preceding the election or appointment; and an actual resident and member-consumer in the district that s/he seeks to represent for at least two years immediately preceding the election.
Another important qualification is that the candidate or appointee has attended at least two Annual General Membership Assemblies (AGMA) for the last five years immediately preceding the election or appointment.
If I remember, the last time I attended the AGMA was more than 10 years ago in Mankayan or Bokod in Benguet, meaning, I am disqualified from becoming a Beneco director or official.
In its resolution, Congress reminded NEA of its commitment to a status quo until all the issues on the selection of the GM of Beneco have been resolved. I understand from the same resolution that if the NEA-BOA continue their ultra vires act, they will be cited for contempt.