MCWD wants out of legal battle over terminated board members

Legal counsel of board members calls move 'preposterous'

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | July 29,2022 - 01:23 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) wants out of the court battle involving terminated board members of MCWD and the Cebu City government under the administration of the late Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.

The plaintiffs, composed of the three ex-MCWD board members, however, opposed this, saying the MCWD has to be impleaded for the complete determination of the case.

The MCWD, through its Legal Department, has filed a manifestation before Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City, expressing its motion to “resolve affirmative defenses in answer and drop defendant MCWD as party” to civil case No. R-CEB-19-09477-CV.

The case involves the declaration of nullity of notice of termination of former executives of the MCWD; Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) designation of interim board of directors, with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order, and injunction, among others.

A copy of the three-page manifestation was sent to members of Cebu media.

The injunction case relates to a court decision that would have reinstated Joel Mari Yu (chairman), Ralph Sevilla (vice-chairman), and Cecilia Adlawan (secretary), three former MCWD board members.

When Labella became the city mayor in 2019, he fired five former MCWD board members, including Yu, Sevilla, and Adlawan.

The Cebu City government, under the current administration of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, however, already decided to back out defending the injunction case filed by Labella’s administration.

READ: Cebu City backs out of legal battle over MCWD

The MCWD, in its three-page manifestation, recalled that on February 11, 2021, it already filed its plea praying for the dismissal of the instant case against it and raising as affirmative defense the failure of the amended complaint against it to state a cause of action against MCWD.

It furthered that on March 18, 2021, the MCWD filed before the RTC Branch 7 its Motion to Resolve Affirmative Defenses in Answer and Drop Defendant MCWD as Party dated March 17, 2021.

The MCWD, through an Order dated March 22, 2022, said it learned that the instant case filed against it has been re-raffled to RTC-Cebu City Branch 17.

Last May 25, 2022, the RTC-Cebu City Branch 17 conducted a pre-trial conference, instructing the parties involved to submit their respective manifestation in view of the death of defendants Labella and Jeci Lapus, who were former Cebu City Mayor and former LWUA Acting Administrator, respectively.

The MCWD maintained that as of now, there has been no court resolution yet on its motion dated March 17, 2021.


Sought for comment, Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, legal counsel of Sevilla and Adlawan, said it is “preposterous” for the MCWD to ask the court to be out of the case.

“It seems our opponents are capitulating one after the other,” he said.

“It is preposterous for the main agency involved in the case to get of out of the case. It (MCWD) is at the heart of the controversy, and it wants out? How foolish could that be?” he added.

Ligutan said they have already filed last April 5, 2021, an opposition to the MCWD’s motion dated March 17, 2021.

He said the MCWD’s motion must be “denied outright” for various “irrefutable grounds.”

These include the fact that MCWD was impleaded as defendant for being “unwilling co-plaintiff,” and that the MCWD is an “indespensable” party that must be impleaded for a final and/or complete determination of the case.



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TAGS: Cebu city government, Cebu Daily News, Local Water Utilities Administration, Metropolitan Cebu Water District

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