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Labella tells MCWD Board: Step down or face legal consequences

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | October 18,2019 - 06:08 PM

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella. | File photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has warned the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Board of Directors that if they do not step down from their posts following their termination on October 15, 2019, they may face legal ramifications.

The recent statement of the MCWD board declaring their refusal to step down from their posts citing that their termination was allegedly “illegal and unconstitutional” did not sit well with the mayor.

Read: MCWD Board of Directors refuse to step down: Termination order ‘illegal’

“The members of the Board are professionals and they should know the legal ramifications and consequences of not heeding the order of the mayor,” said Labella.

“And if the chairman, who happens not to be a lawyer, does not realize this, he better consult a lawyer and maybe to some of the lawyers who are members of the board if he does not heed the order of the mayor. They are all professionals,” he added.

Although Labella did not reveal whether he will be filing charges against the MCWD Board for not stepping down upon termination, Labella said his order for termination was legal as the board was terminated for “a cause”

City Legal Officer Lawyer Rey Gealon said Presidential Decree 198, or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973, Section 11  stated that directors may be removed for cause only, subject to review and approval of the Administration.

Read: MCWD chair speaks out: We are not at fault for water crisis

“Although silent on the matter of who has authority to remove the directors, it is settled in case law that: Absent any contrary statutory provision, the power to appoint carries with it the power to remove or to discipline. Hence, the mayor has the power to remove the members of the board of directors of the local water district,” said Gealon.

However, Lawyer Democrito Barcenas, the chairman of the Carcar City Water District (CCWD) said that the MCWD Board’s termination was illegal because they did not go through a fair process on their termination.

Barcenas noted that there are no provisions in PD 198 that states the particular offenses that will constitute the termination of Board Members, only that they can be terminated with “cause.”

Read: Political names among candidates for MCWD Board

The lawyer said the MCWD Board’s termination is disputable and unjust, even illegal and unconstitutional, because they were never asked to explain, and they were not probed upon.

Barcenas urged the Cebu City Mayor to reconsider their termination and follow the due process in removing the “tenured” officers from their post.

Read: Labella sacks MCWD board of directors

“There should have been due process of law,” said Barcenas.

The lawyer also revealed that charges against the mayor may soon be filed by the MCWD board of termination. /bmjo

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TAGS: board, Board of Directors, face, Labella, legal, MCWD, tells, water crisis, water shortage

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