CAGAYAN DE ORO City, March 21, 2011?The members of the First Community Cooperative (FICCO) have formally affirmed the move of the cooperativeâ€™s Board of Directors (BOD) to severe their ties with the Adhikaing Tinaguyod ng Kooperatib (ATing Koop) partylist, which FICCO helped established to the tune of P11 million.
During the general assembly of FICCOâ€™s different branches this month, the members unanimously approved General Assembly Resolution No. 07-2011 which â€œconfirm[ed] the action of the BOD in not implementing GA Resolution No. 2010-04 and to withdraw from ATing Koop.â€
GA Resolution No. 2010-04, which was approved by the members last year, required every FICCO member to become ATing Koop members and to â€œpay the membership fee of P100â€ with FICCO paying half while the members paying the other half.
But due to some schism between different factions of the BOD and between officers of FICCO and ATing Koop, the BOD decided not to implement this resolution and decided to withdraw the cooperativeâ€™s support to the partylist group.
In its monthly newsletter, the cooperative, through directors Luis Yap, Cecil Laguna, Ed Sambaan, Art Aldamia and Jake Cornito, explained that FICCO decided to withdraw its support to ATing Koop because of (1) lawyer Proculo Sarmenâ€™s insistence of agreeing to be the partylistâ€™s number one nominee only if he is elected BOD chair; (2) ATing Koopâ€™s Central Committee refusal to grant FICCOâ€™s request to replace Sarmen as nominee with another FICCO director, Isagani Daba; (3) ATing Koop leadersâ€™ smear campaign against FICCO; and (4) use of the partylistâ€™s and cooperativeâ€™s money to buy votes during the Lanao special elections.
Sarmen was designated the partylistâ€™s number one nominee when FICCO helped established the ATing Coop. But â€œdespite knowing the existing policy that the FICCO [partylist] nominee should not be an officer of FICCO, Atty. Sarmen ran for the position of BOD and won.â€ This was during the March 21, 2010 general assembly of the FICCO-Main.
â€œDuring the organization meeting, [Sarmen] gave the FICCO board an ultimatum: he will only agree to be the [partylistâ€™s] nominee if he is elected BOD chair. The Board met the challenge head on and elected Mr. Luis Yap as chairman. Atty. Sarmen then told the BOD that he is withdrawing his name as nominee. The BOD designated Mr. Isagani Daba as FICCO nominee,â€ wrote Yap, Laguna, Sambaan, Aldamia and Cornito in the newsletter.
They also said that when the ATing Koop Central Committee refused to replace Sarmen with the new nominee, Daba, because â€œthe selection process was already over,â€ FICCO countered that(a) the names of the AK nominees were not yet submitted to COMELEC, (b) there was no selection process observed for Mindanao nominees, (c) the list of Mindanao nominees was a choice of Atty. Sarmen alone without proper consultation with AK Mindanao, and (d) to reconsider FICCOâ€™s request considering that it bankrolled AK at the start.
â€œAll the above arguments fell on deaf ears. We cannot totally blame the members of the [ATing Koop] CenCom. Because FICCOâ€™s own representative in the CenCom undermined FICCOâ€™s position. Contrary to his earlier pronouncements, Atty. Sarmen, claiming that he was back-stabbed, called up beforehand the members of the CenCom not to give due course to FICCOâ€™s request. FICCO responded by withdrawing support and putting on hold the GA resolution that would have collected, from [each member] a P50 membership fee,â€ they said.
FICCO, acknowledged to be the countryâ€™s biggest cooperative, with membership breaching the 140,000 mark, assets surpassing P4.59 billion, shares of P1.6 billion and deposits totaling P2.09 billion, decided to throw its hat in the political field during the 2010 elections in the hope that it â€œcould bring its culture into the political arena and hopefully make a difference.â€
But the â€œPhilippine-style politics that can loosen the values even of men with long exposure to our FICCO culture,â€ the cooperativeâ€™s hope of changing politics for the better â€œtotally disintegrated.â€ (Bong D. Fabe)