CENECO shakedown

WHEN the report came out that Roy Cordova won the presidency of Central Negros Electric Cooperative, I was thinking of the title “shakeup” for today’s column until information from the inside say that the change of leadership in CENECO is best described as a “shakedown”

However, events will tell us later whether the administration of Roy Cordova will turn out to be a shakeup.

A “shakedown” indicates significant changes; “shakeup” is merely blending with the same with a little change of elements but the situation remains the same. In a word, a shakeup in CENECO under Cordova means the same banana as that of ousted Arnel Lapore.

Cordova, on the other hand can implement a shakedown that will result in significant reforms to eradicate suspicions of corruption and the internal squabbling that arose from these suspicions.

The election of Cordova is seen by an email writer as “a major victory for the Ceneco member consumers who had been hit by almost P400 million in additional generation charges resulting from Lapore’s over contracting binge with Kepco (24mw), Filinvest (20mw) and Palm Concepcion (10mw extra).”

Will Cordova be able to investigate, explain, reverse or mitigate the results of these contracts?

People wondered: Why was Lapore replaced?

Inside information says that Cordova, a former lineman of CENECO and former ally of Lapore, was disqualified as director when NEA required a four-year college degree. Cordova went back to school and got his degree.

Despite lack of confidence of most directors of Cordova’s ability to be President he got the votes because of “the strong sentiment to change leadership at the electric coop, the nations second largest. He was a compromise candidate”.

“Lapore lost the Presidency but not for lack of trying. He had apparently been campaigning and reportedly offered incentives to those who will vote for him. He got initial commitments from enough directors to assure him of re-election. He campaigned on the line that the status quo be maintained since he is graduating as CENECO director next year.

“Predictably, Bago City’s director Robert Javellana was for Lapore all the way.”

Another Director he reportedly courted was Mrs. Jojit Yap and her husband Horace. They campaigned behind the scenes for Arnel Lapore. However, “perhaps sensing the rising sentiments against Lapore, she was mysteriously absent during the board election. Another director elected to abstain from the voting”.

The rise of Roy Cordova was “not a result of majority belief in him but in the strong desire of the other directors and their respective LGU leaderships to do something about the problems at CENECO. These LGUs are the cities of Bacolod City, Silay, Talisay, Murcia,Bago City and Salvador Benedicto town”.

Can Cordova as President work productively with General Manager Sulpicio Lagarde? They had filed complaints against each other at NEA.

Our informant says “there is a chance that things will be less acrimonious at the Board of Directors level because Cordova is expected to honor the NEA rules on the role of a coop president as opposed to Arnel Lapore who tried to run CENECO by himself by going beyond ‘policy making’ as the Board should be”

Anyway, let’s wait how they can work together.

There is a “sub-plot” in the CENECO shakedown. Our informant wonders “what will be the fate of CENECO Manager for Corporate Planning Engineer Bong Tambanillo who had been the loyal aide of Lapore and even suspected of fudging the power requirement forecasts of CENECO to justify the over-contracting wanted by Lapore. Tambanillo had been accused by several directors for misleading them on the CENECO power forecasts to get them to approve the contracts. Cordova and Tambanillo have been friends”.

Will friendship supersede public interest? Will there be a shakedown or Cordova will just shakeup?

There is a difference between Cordova and Lapore that will test Cordova on a far reaching matter.

The information says Cordova “is pro-NEA while Lapore had been observed inclined to convert CENECO’s registration to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) which will remove term limits and enable Lapore to stay on as president beyond the current NEA limits. Lapore’s end game is allegedly to try to sell CENECO to the private sector like Aboitiz and Meralco group”.

This “scheme” if there is one, has monumental obstacles to hurdle but then they say nothing is impossible to a lawyer, the reason we need courts.

Let’s wait how Cordova fares but we wish him well.


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