Sacked MCWD board of directors sues Labella, LWUA
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Board of Directors (BOD) of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) has filed a case to nullify both the notice of termination issued against them by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and the decision of the Local Water Utility Association (LWUA) to appoint an interim board.
The case, filed before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City on Friday, November 8, 2019, also petitioned the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to the orders issued by Labella and LWUA.
In the complaint, the MCWD BOD said Labella “maliciously and intentionally” violated various sections of Presidential Decree 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973, when he terminated the BOD composed of Joel Mari Yu (chairman), Ralph Sevilla (vice chairman), Cecilia Adlawan (secretary), Procopio Fernandez (member) and Augustus Pe (member) on October 15, 2019.
Furthermore, the BOD said the LWUA overstepped its function by designating an interim board instead of strengthening the independence and autonomy of MCWD as a local water utility.
Of the five terminated members of the BOD, only Pe, Adlawan and Sevilla filed the case because Yu resigned on October 22, 2019, a week after the termination. Fernandez has said he would not defy the termination order of Labella.
“There is a process in the termination of the members of the water district board of directors and it was not followed. We had to file the case to ensure the laws are respected,” the MCWD BOD said in a statement.
“It’s a choice between one’s interest and what is right and we chose what is right,” they added.
In the complaint, the remaining directed asked to be compensated at P1 million each for the “damages incurred” by their “illegal” termination.
Labella, for his part, said he is ready to face the charges filed against him as he said he expected that the “terminated” board will fight to keep their post.
“Filing a case is one thing, proving the case is another. I will answer at the proper forum once I shall receive a copy of the complaint,” said Labella in a press conference on Friday afternoon.
He said he was confident that he could face the allegations because the “law is on the city’s side.”/elb
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