Court rules it has no jurisdiction on anti-JVA suit

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A regional trial court here dismissed a civil case filed by several petitioners against officials of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative  (Ceneco) and Negros Electric Power Corp (NEPC) in relation to the Joint Venture Agreement between both parties.

RTC Branch 42 Judge Maria Lina Gonzaga said “the court is indeed bereft of jurisdiction, thus this case is, as it should be, dismissed without prejudice.”

The court decision furnished to the media Thursday said that the petitioners – Negros Consumers Watch (NCW) and Convenors of Anti Ceneco JVA Coalition (ACJC) – represented by Pepito Pico and Rommel Pido, respectively, sought the nullity of JVA and the issuance of Preliminary Injunction and/ or Temporary Restraining Order from the court.

On August 22 this year, petitioners alleged that the court has jurisdiction on the petition for declaratory relief, with prayer for the issuance of TRO and permanent injunction.

In her seven- page order dated September 1, Gonzaga said a perusal of JVA in question does not show any ambiguity, which requires judicial construction.

“If the terms and condition of the agreement are being questioned for being disadvantageous to the consumers and the Ceneco members, declaratory relief is not a remedy.

Gonzaga stressed that “the issues are best raised before the National Electrification Administration (NEA), which is equipped with the proper legal and technical team to discuss the loopholes,” she said.

The JVA between Ceneco and NEPC and its parent company Primelectric Holdings Inc will allow the Enrique Razon-led firms to take over Ceneco’s service areas and invest billions of pesos to improve the cooperative’s facilities.

NEPC is now seeking a congressional franchise after Ceneco consumers approved the JVA in a plebiscite.