CA affirms dismissal of ‘disobedient’ coop agency chair

The Court of Appeals (CA) turned down a suit filed by former Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) chair Orlando Ravanera questioning the Ombudsman decision that slapped him with a guilty verdict and dismissal due to his involvement in a dispute within the Davao Del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Daneco). The CA 21st Division denied Ravanera’s petition and affirmed the 2019 decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) finding him guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty. ‘All told, this Court finds no reason to disturb the rulings of the OMB,’ the CA said in its decision dated April 20 and made public Friday. The case arose from a complaint filed by Daneco member-consumers, represented by its chief operations manager Emmanuel Galarse, which had a dispute with the general manager and 10 Board members. The member-consumers group sued the other group before the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in 2011 for grave misconduct because of alleged anomalous contracts. In April 2012, the NEA rendered a guilty verdict against the general manager’s group and penalized them with dismissal. The embattled group then called for a referendum for the conversion of Daneco into a stock cooperative to be registered with the CDA, which issued a certificate of registration also in 2012. The aggrieved members naturally protested and secured from a temporary restraining order from the CA in 2013. The referendum was also declared illegal. Still, Ravanera went ahead with the certificate of registration and ordered the reopening of Daneco offices in 2015. He countered that since Daneco was already registered with the CDA, the NEA had no authority to cancel the registration since this power is within the jurisdiction of the CDA. The complainants said the involvement and participation of Ravanera emboldened Daneco to commit illegal acts, like collecting power bill payments, issuing fabricated receipts and illegal reconnections of disconnected power service lines, which caused them financial distress. The OMB said Ravanera is liable for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty and was ordered dismissed from service. ‘Indubitably, petitioner Ravanera grossly disregarded the orders of this court and of NEA showing his disrespect to the lawful authorities, and was remiss in his duty in strictly observing the said directives,’ the CA said.

Source: Philippines News Agency