MANILA, Philippines—The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has slapped a temporary restraining order against the reorganization being implemented by state-run National Power Corp., which would have resulted in the termination of some 300 permanent and contractual employees.
In a three-page decision penned by presiding Judge Ralph S. Lee, the 20-day TRO which took effect last April 4, prohibited Napocor from implementing the notices of non-appointment and separation it gave out starting February 20 this year, as well restricted the agency from making new appointments.
“This Court hereby resolves to grant the TRO… pending the hearing and resolution of petitioners’ application for issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction. This Court finds the same to be a safer and more prudent recourse in order to safeguard and balance the conflicting rights and interests of the parties,” the order stated.
The TRO was sought by Napocor Employees and Workers Union (NEWU) and Napocor Employees Consolidated Union (NECU).
In a separate statement, the group Kilusang Banat (Buhayin Ang Napocor At Transco) meanwhile hailed the order, noting that this “means saving the lives of the families of these employees who were considered” part of the reorganization at Napocor.
“The Napocor’s continuing reorganization after the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) has been facing enormous obstacles from the labor sector for lack of transparency and economic justification,” the group said.
“The Department of Energy has a lot of troubles to face at the height of the worsening Mindanao power crisis due to its failure to address the weak leadership among the power agencies more particularly in Napocor,” it added.
According to Kilusang Banat, Napocor has been attempting to implement several reorganizations over the past decade, following the 2003 reorganization, which was mandated under the Epira.
The latest of these attempts was this year, when Napocor had reportedly served some 300 notices for termination and separation, the group said.
“Almost all the Napocor Labor Union Leaders were removed in the recently assailed Napocor reorganization as a result of their strong stance against the non-payment of their Cost of Living Allowance benefit in the amount of almost P8 billion,” Kilusang Banat noted.
Apart from the writ of injunction sought by Napocor employees, the various labor groups in the state agency has also filed an election case against Napocor president Froilan A. Tampinco for violation of the Omnibus Election Code particularly section 261 (h) on the Transfer of officers and employees in the civil service.
“Napocor proceeded with its reorganization and personnel movement while the election ban for hiring and promotion is being imposed (starting January 13, 2013),” it disclosed.