Daluz, 2 others removed again from MCWD by Cebu City government
CEBU CITY, Philippines- The Cebu City Government announced the removal of lawyer Joey Daluz III and two others from the Metropolitan Cebu Water District, effective Thursday, August 17, 2023.
City Legal Officer. Jerone Castillo and City Administrator Collin Rosell informed that all notices of termination have already been served to Daluz, the current MCWD chairman, and to Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno as members of the board in a press conference last Thursday.
Castillo said that the decision relates to the latest verdict of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) on the removal of MCWD directors, referring to the complaint filed by former Board of Director (BOD) members Augustus Pe Jr., Ralph Sevilla, and Cecilia Adlawan against then Cebu City mayor Edgardo Labella and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) acting administrator Jeci Lapus.
It can be recalled that on November 8, 2019, Pe, Sevilla, and Adlawan filed a petition to nullify the decision of then-Mayor Edgardo Labella to terminate their services.
However last June 30, 2023, the RTC dismissed the petition, saying Mayor Labella had the power or authority to terminate the services of the plaintiffs as members of the MCWD Board.
When asked about the possible replacement of Daluz as MCWD chairman, Castillo said that that decision lies in the hands of LWUA.
“Naa nay mga mekanismo. We will abide by whatever directive or direction that will be provided by LWUA,” said Castillo.
When asked about the termination process, Castillo explained that the City had first conducted an investigation concerning the issues against Daluz, as approved by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama last July 29, 2023.
Throughout the investigation, the respondents were given the opportunity to present and explain themselves, according to Castillo.
Castillo clarified that MCWD will not be privatized as it gears for an efficient and sustainable supply and distribution of potable water.
He denied the allegations coming from the camp of Daluz that the City’s main intention was to privatize MCWD.
“That was never the intent. If that is their defense, then that is a wrong defense,” Castillo explained.
He also stressed that the respondents should have answered the allegations squarely.
“Kon unsay gi alleged didto, mao unta to ang gitubag. Dili kay privatization,” said Castillo.
Last June 15, 2023, Castillo recommended the removal of Daluz, Pato, and Seno from MCWD, citing a petition for their removal by the MCWD Employees Union and its Executive Board before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas over the deteriorating income of MCWD and their failure to meet the water needs of the utility’s customers.
He also cited on the recommendation the opinion of Government Corporate Counsel Rogelio Quevedo last February 27, 2023, that the MCWD board’s approval of three bulk water supply projects in Mactan, Cebu violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In a press statement, MCWD reserves its comments and will not preclude the actions taken by the LWUA. Following Section 11 of PD 198, the law that established the water districts, as amended by PD 768, stipulates that directors may only be removed for cause, subject to review and approval by the Administration.
However, the water district assures its consumers that it remains committed to fulfilling its mandate of providing safe, clean, and affordable water to the people of Metro Cebu.
MCWD supplies water to the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay, and the municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Compostela, and Cordova. /rcg
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