Senator Win Gatchalian warned the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to recall NEA’s most recent memoranda in appointing general managers (GMs) of electric cooperatives (ECs) saying that NEA violated the law as it went beyond its supervisory powers.
NEA, an attached agency of the DOE, has Secretary Alfonso Cusi as Chairman of the Board.
“By vesting the NEA the power to appoint a general manager of an electric cooperative, NEA Memorandum No. 2021-55 and Memorandum No. 2021-56 violate Presidential Decree (PD) 269 or the National Electrification Administration Decree,” said Gatchalian.
“Maliwanag na iligal ang bagong polisiya ng NEA at maaari silang kasuhan ng grave abuse of discretion. Ano ang basehan nila para iatang sa kanilang mga sarili ang kapangyarihan na magtalaga ng general managers sa mga kooperatiba? Wala itong basehan sa batas,” he added.
Memorandum No. 2021-55 changed the rules on the selection, hiring, termination of service/suspension of general managers of electric cooperatives contained in NEA Memorandum No. 2017-035. The revised policy transferred the power to appoint GMs to the NEA Board of Administrators which was previously reserved to the Board of Directors (BOD) of ECs.
Memorandum No. 2021-56, meanwhile, is the revised policy guidelines on the conduct of examination and interview for applicants. Both memoranda were issued last December 1.
The Senate Energy Committee chairperson particularly stated that Section 4 (e) of PD 269, as amended by Republic Act (RA) 10531, provides that NEA has merely the power to supervise the management and operations of all ECs and therefore, NEA is not allowed under the law to replace the judgment of ECs with their own discretion in appointing GMs.
The lawmaker further said that Section 26 of PD 269 provides that the EC enjoys the power to determine in its by-laws the manner of elections and filling of vacancies of its officers. A new Section 26-B was introduced by RA 10531 which limited NEA’s role to merely review the qualifications and disqualifications of individuals appointed or elected to electric cooperatives.
It can be recalled that Gatchalian called out NEA in the last quarter of last year following its alleged anomalous appointment of a new general manager for Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), saying that NEA did not follow its own memorandum on succession mechanism and selection process.