Ceneco files TRO vs Murcia warrant-A A +A
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
THE Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) has filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bacolod City a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the warrant of distraint issued by the Municipal Treasurer's Office of Murcia to freeze its bank accounts.
Ceneco general manager Sulpicio Lagarde Jr. said they filed the petition Monday before the RTC Branch 44 presided by Judge Franklin Demonteverde.
The court is expected to rule on the petition within the week, Lagarde said.
He said the Treasurer's Office of Murcia issued the warrant of distraint with the intent to freeze all the accounts of Ceneco with Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).
Lagarde said the warrant of distraint was furnished by the Treasurer's Office to all branches of RCBC and UCPB last week.
This is detrimental to the operations of Ceneco and it will also affect its power distribution to all its coverage areas because payments and transactions of Ceneco are channeled through these banks, Lagarde pointed out.
The Treasurer's Office of Murcia issued the warrant of distraint to assert its plan of collecting P16 million from Ceneco for real property taxes, or taxes on the electric poles of Ceneco in Murcia numbering more than 10,000.
However, Lagarde said the collection is illegal and that they did not contest the municipality’s attempt to collect from them because they do not want to give credence to it.
Ceneco president Atty. Arnel Lapore said that among the coverage areas of Ceneco, it is only Murcia that wants to charge taxes for the electric poles.
Lapore said he suspects that Murcia legal counsel Rayfrando Diaz may have given Mayor Andrew Montelibano the idea to collect such taxes.
He noted that in the past, Diaz had prompted VMC Rural Electric Service (Vresco) pay taxes for electric poles to local government units in its coverage areas.
However, Lapore said the National Electrification Administration (NEA) adheres to the decision of the Supreme Court that poles cannot be taxed because they are movable and transferable unlike the substations.
He said that NEA has the supervisory authority over Ceneco and all other electric cooperatives in the country.
“We respect NEA and we stand by its legal ground unless there is a court decision,” Lapore added.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on November 06, 2013.