There is a “high voltage” issue involving the electricity distributor in the province of Benguet and Baguio City. We have also read and heard a divided opinion and others have even suggested that the present management of the electric cooperative is hiding “something” that is why it is doing everything to prevent an “outsider” from being appointed as the General Manager. The issue is of course on the appointment of the General Manager where two have applied for the position. In the process as outlined by laws and issuances, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) supervises the selection and dismissal of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives in the country. As part of its supervisory functions, it shall conduct the necessary examinations to determine the fitness of a candidate to perform his functions. Only those candidates who have obtained at least 80% rating and who passed the final interview shall be endorsed to the Board of Directors of the concerned EC for it to select from. In its resolution, the NEA endorsed to the BOD of Beneco only one candidate- the one who has obtained the highest rating. On its latest action, the Beneco BOD rejected the candidate endorsed by NEA. The process however, does not end here. What will come after this rejection is something crucial and legally interesting. A circular from NEA itself says that if the BOD rejects all the prequalified applicants the process will begin all over again. But if the reason for the rejection is “UNREASONABLE”, the NEA shall appoint from the prequalified applicants. The very crucial question here then is: what is considered as “UNREASONABLE”?
The word “unreasonable” can be quite difficult to define. What may be reasonable or unreasonable can differ from person to person or situation. Definitions of the word vary. It may be defined as “not fair or acceptable” or “not based on or using good judgment”. But then another question arises: what constitutes “not fair” or “acceptable” or “good judgment”? It seems that anything under the sun or even beyond it can be considered “unreasonable”. Even our laws have not defined what is to be considered “unreasonable”. The Constitutional prohibition against “unreasonable search and seizure” has been the subject of many decisions of the Supreme Court but the highest tribunal itself could not come up with the definition of “unreasonable” or “reasonable”. In one case, the SC said: “There is no hard and fast rule in determining when a search and seizure is reasonable. In any given situation, “[w]hat constitutes a reasonable . . . search . . . is purely a judicial question,” the resolution of which depends upon the unique and distinct factual circumstances.” (G.R. No. 200370, Veridiano vs People) If the Supreme Court itself says that there is no “hard and fast rule” in determining what is “unreasonable” or “reasonable” , it will be interesting how the NEA will determine what is an “unreasonable reason” for the rejection of its endorsement by the BOD of Beneco. Will it make a determination of what “unreasonable” and appoint its preferred applicant or will it ask the court to make the determination? Interesting.