NEA cannot appoint GM for ECs – PHILRECA

Published June 30, 2022, 3:36 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) has reaffirmed its position that the National Electrification Administration (NEA) does not have vested authority to appoint or set the terms for the selection of general managers (GMs) for the electric cooperatives.

Based on a decision rendered by Judge Efren M. Cacatian on a case lodged by Isabela Electric Cooperative (ISELCO), Party List Representative Presley C. De Jesus, who is also the board-president of ISELCO, asserted that “NEA and its Board of Administrators committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of and in excess of their jurisdiction when they arrogated unto itself the power to select, hire, and appoint a general manager of an electric cooperative through the aforementioned NEA memoranda.”

PHILRECA, in particular, noted that the Court ruling on ISELCO effectively nullified at least two issuances of the NEA in relation to the appointment as well as selection of GMs for electric cooperatives.

Declared as null and void have been NEA Memorandum 2021-055, which delves with “the revised policy on the selection, hiring, termination of service/suspension for general managers of electric cooperatives,” as well as NEA Memorandum 2021-056, which prescribes “revised policy guidelines on the conduct of examination and interview for applicants to the position of general managers of electric cooperatives.”

De Jesus similarly conveyed the earlier findings of the House Committee on Energy that “NEA is not empowered under the law to appoint a general manager because such power belongs to the electric cooperatives through their Board of Directors.”

He expounded that “the findings of the House Committee on Energy was even ratified by the entire House of Representatives with no opposition nor abstention.”

De Jesus emphasized that “the resulting legislative measure, House Resolution 213, directs the NEA to comply with the provisions of Memorandum No. 2017-035, which established that the authority to appoint general managers lies with the EC Board of Directors.”

The lawmaker indicated that the Isabela regional trial court ruling in the ISELCO case “holds the same belief that NEA-BOA (Board of Administrators) has no such power under the law.”

He stressed that under Section 4 of Presidential Decree 269 and its amendments under Republic Act 10531 or the NEA Charter, the specific stipulation is that: “NEA has the supervisory powers only over ECs.”

“The law speaks of supervisory and disciplinary powers over EC and its Board of Directors, no more, no less,” De Jesus concluded.