The Energy Regulatory Commission is holding a pre-trial and evidentiary hearing at its head office in Pasig City tomorrow on the application of Central Negros Electric Cooperative for approval of its emergency capital expenditure project, with prayer for issuance of provisional authority.
In its application, CENECO prayed that pending hearing, ERC provisionally approve the submitted emergency capital project for its 5 MVA Silay substation in Hda. Panaogao in Silay City, Negros Occidental, which it has already constructed.
Commissioner Maria Teresa Castañeda in her order dated July 13, 2011 recalled that during a hearing in Bacolod City on July 7, 2011, Romeo Lavilla Sr. and Councilor Archie Baribar were directed to file their respective petitions for intervention within 15 days from the date of the hearing.
CENECO was also directed to immediately furnish the intervenors with copies of the applications together with its attachments, and for the intervenors to submit their comments, within 15 days from receipt of the applications.
The electric cooperative was also given 15 days from receipt of the comment within which to submit its reply or counter-comment.
ERC further directed the intervenors to submit their respective pre-trial briefs together with the judicial affidavits of their witnesses on or before the scheduled hearing.
Meanwhile, Lavilla and Baribar filed a joint manifestation/motion on July 22, 2011, asking that they be allowed until August 6 to file the necessary pleading in intervention.
They also prayed that the hearing set on Thursday be set after August 21 and the venue of the next hearing be placed in Bacolod City.
In their joint manifestation/motion, Lavilla said he received the copy of the application only on July 21 with incomplete annexes, and was given 15 days to file his intervention or until August 5, while Baribar received a copy of the application on July 22 and has until August 6 to file an intervention.
It is only logical that they be required to file their intervention after receipt of the application, they said.
Considering that CENECO has also to file a counter-comment, the hearing of the case should be after August 21, they added.
Baribar and Lavilla said they were taken in complete surprise when the July 13 Order also set the evidentiary hearing on Thursday at the ERC Office in Pasig.
It is in the interest of justice that they be given the opportunity to file their intervention within the time frame allowed for them to do so after receipt of the application. So they have until August 6 to submit, they said.
As earlier manifested, they opposed the setting of evidentiary hearing at the ERC Office in Pasig as it will prejudice them and other consumers of the opportunity to fully ventilate their side, they added.
Both recalled that it was manifested that the hearing be set in Bacolod City, considering that the July 7 hearing has not fully concluded the jurisdictional aspect of the case.
On the other hand, Elinore Cabanilla of the Social Action Center also filed a manifestation dated July 22, 2011, requesting that her appearance be noted/admitted in the hearing and that CENECO be directed to furnish her with a copy of the application and that she be granted 15 days from receipt of the application to file a petition in intervention and/or comment.
Cabanilla cited that during the July 7 hearing, she entered her appearance and was acknowleged as one of the intervenors/oppositors in the case.
For this reason, CENECO furnished her with several documents on July 22, she said. However, she was only given notices of hearing and other documents but not a copy of the application, she added.
Cabanilla said on the same date she was furnished a copy of the Order dated July 13, 2011. Surprisingly, only Lavilla and Baribar were mentioned, she said. Her name was omitted despite her presence as attested by the minutes of July 7, 2011, she added.*CGS