TAGUM CITY—An official of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative-Cooperative Development Authority (Daneco-CDA) faction on Wednesday said that the National Electrification Administration (NEA) “violated the due process of law” when the latter compulsorily closed down the former’s offices.

Gerald Osorio, OIC-General Manager of Daneco-CDA told in an interview that the closure “was illegal as it violated the standing status quo ante order of RTC Branch 96 and Court of Appeals in Manila.”

Last July 28, Daneco-CDA’s collection centers in Gaisano Grand Mall Tagum including its sub-offices in Mabini, Pantukan towns and other offices in Compostela Valley, Kapalong and Asuncion towns in Davao del Norte were padlocked by Davao del Norte police authorities and NEA’s legal officers.

The order came after NEA  issued a Cease and Desist Order against Daneco-CDA.

“The act of NEA was illegal and pure harassment. How can an office order supersede an order of the courts?” claimed Osorio.

Osorio said that Daneco-CDA faction is poised to file a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the cease and desist order before the High Court.

He also clarified that collection centers are still operational as they are holding office in Tagum City.

“(W)e will continue to operate because  our certificate of registration with the Cooperative Development Authority has never been cancelled by any court or competent authority.”

For paying member-consumer, Helen Agda, 36, the closure of Daneco-CDA offices was “troublesome” as member consumers are “suffering.

She urged that  “payments would be accounted properly so that she would not be forced to pay to Daneco-NEA.”

Agda added that some of her neighbors were already “disconnected from the power grid as sanctioned by Daneco-CDA because of  the non-payments of their electric bills.”

Rosario Chavez, 47, a businesswoman in Maco town, and a member-consumer of Daneco-NEA urged the local government to intervene on the issue.

“This would not have happened in the first place if the local government had intervened earlier,” Chavez said.

In an a separate interview Tuesday, NEA’s Legal Counsel, Atty. Jeorge Rapista, told DavaoToday: “NEA in exercise of its quasi judicial function is co-equal with RTC when it issues Order and it cannot be restrained by a TRO or injunction issued by any RTC as a co- equal body.”

He also refuted claims that they violated due process because their rival, “was given ample time and opportunity to defend themselves in different courts and tribunals.”

He said that the “writ of injunction issued by the court of appeals prohibits the Daneco-CDA group to exercise its powers and functions.”

The Cease and Desist Order was issued pursuant to RA 10531 and the injunction issued by the Court of Appeals against Daneco-CDA.

“The new NEA law under RA 10531 provides NEA a blanket authority to supervise all the electric cooperatives in the country. We have not violated any law. We are just exercising NEA’s quasi-judicial function,” Rapista said.

Rapista also maintained that “Daneco-CDA’s act of collecting payments from the consumers despite the standing orders from the Court is illegal and undermines the right of each member-consumer.”

It remains to be seen if Daneco-NEA can settle their debts now that they have closed down some collection centers of its rival.

DANECO’s outstanding obligation amounted to about PhP230 million (PhP232,944,772.01) when its power accounts were transferred from the National Power Corporation to PSALM in June 2009.

According to PSALM, it approved the restructuring of DANECO’s outstanding Value Added Tax (VAT) account amounting to PhP106,556,231.49, with a monthly amortization of PhP4,439,842.98 for a period of two (2) years or from March 2011 to February 2013.

Daneco-NEA entered into a three-year agreement with PSALM for its restructuring of its obligation amounting to PhP274,993,033.54 from June 2013 to March 21, 2013. (davaotoday.com)

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