City Hall pushes for removal of Daluz as chairman, member of MCWD board
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office has recommended removing and terminating Lawyer Jose Daluz III as chairman and member of the board of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).
Lawyer Jerone Castillo, city attorney and investigating head, who was tasked by Mayor Michael Rama to conduct an inquiry on the matter, announced his recommendation in a press conference on Friday afternoon, June 16, 2023.
Reason for bid to remove from MCWD board
In his investigation letter dated June 15, 2023, Castillo said Daluz was not able to defend properly on why he should not be removed as chairman and be terminated as member of the MCWD board.
“The explanations and defenses embodied in the supposed Joint Reply (of Daluz to the show cause order that city hall issued) are untenable,” Castillo said.
According to Castillo, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, in October 2022, forwarded to the city government the petition of the employees for appropriate action, as the employees’ union alleged that the MCWD’s corporate health allegedly deteriorated and the board, despite being limited to policy-making functions, reportedly interfered in the appointment and personnel selection process.
The petition of the MCWD Employees Union in September last year was originally addressed to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, with Lawyer Daluz, Miguelito Pato, and Jodelyn Mae Seno as respondents.
Meanwhile, Castillo said copies of their investigation report were furnished to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA); to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas; the MCWD Employees Union and Executive Board; Engineer Edgar Donoso, MCWD general manager; Lawyer Rogelio Quevedo (Government Corporate Counsel); and the Cebu City Council.
When sought for comment, the MCWD said it would not preclude the actions to be taken by LWUA.
MCWD also reiterated that Section 11 of Presidential Decree (PD) 198, the law that established water districts, as amended by PD 768, stipulated that directors might only be removed for cause, subject to review and approval of LWUA.
“Amid the issues raised by the Cebu City government against three members of MCWD’s Board of Directors, the water district assures its consumers that it remains committed to fulfilling its mandate of providing potable and affordable water to the people of Metro Cebu. The BOD and management continue to intensify its efforts to secure water sources, particularly, in light of the anticipated El Niño phenomenon in the middle of the year,” it said.
MCWD Chairman Daluz, in a phone interview, told CDN Digital that he would answer it in the proper forum.
“Ila man nang (That is their) findings and let them go to the process. I am just glad that they go to the process of removing me so that there will be other party that will look into this,” he said.
“Akong understanding ana is mao na ilang recommendation, they will submit it to LWUA. I don’t know if LWUA will act on it because it’s their (city legal) recommendation and supposedly kay sila may tasked ni mayor to investigate, so the recommendation is addressed to the mayor? I think so. Now, it is up to the mayor to decide whether to remove me or not, kay sa pagkakaron, internal man to, unya ila nang gicopy furnished tanan,” he added.
(My understanding on that is that is their recommendation, they will submit it to LWUA. I don’t know if LWUA will act on it because it’s their (city legal) recommendation and supposedly because they are tasked by the mayor to investigate, so the recommendation is addressed to the mayor? I think so. Now, it is up to the mayor to decide on whether to remove me or not, because for now, that is internal, and they copied it and furnished all.)
In the petition of the MCWD Employees’ Union in September 2022, the union cited various grounds why Daluz and the two other MCWD board members should be removed.
These included the alleged plunging of the MCWD’s income by 62 percent and the non revenue water reaching 30 percent.
Daluz, in his letter, said there were external factors which significantly affected the corporate health and performance of the MCWD such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Typhoon Odette.
“Not only MCWD, but even private water suppliers that have existing water supply contracts with MCWD were limited by the pandemic. Along with the decrease in supply, there was also a decrease in water sales significantly reducing income,” Daluz said.
The union also said that the present chairperson and members of the BOD favored individuals with “questionable qualification” in appointing MCWD personnel.
Daluz answered that under Presidential Decree No. 198, the appointment of personnel in the supervisory level would be subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.
Daluz, Pato, and Seno were appointed in 2019 to replace the previous officials who were removed on account of claims of poor unsatisfactory performance by local government units.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.