MCWD: Legal counsel of previous board tells Rama “end this madness”

Lawyer Ligutan to Rama: Reinstate, Pe, Sevilla, Adlawan

By: Rashe Zoe Sophia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 10,2023 - 03:47 PM

Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan | CDN Photo / Pia Piquero

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The legal counsel of the previous MCWD board of directors called out Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to reinstate the former directors back into office.

Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, legal counsel of Augustus Pe Jr., Ralph Sevilla, and Cecilia Adlawan, held a press conference on Friday, November 10, to address a “significant development” in the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).

Ligutan said that the puzzle has been solved now that the Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), through lawyer Rogelio Quevedo on November 9, declared in his letter that the Mayor of Cebu City “cannot” terminate the MCWD board of directors.

READ: Osmeña hits Rama on replacement of MCWD officials

“It is the board of directors of MCWD that has the power and authority to do the termination. The question is, ‘Are we surprised?’ ‘Are my clients Pe, Sevilla, and Adlawan surprised?’, the answer is No,” Ligutan said.

Ligutan added that this has been what they were fighting for in court that local executives cannot terminate members of the board of directors.

In 2019, the late mayor Edgardo Labella terminated Augustus Pe Jr., Ralph Sevilla, and Cecilia Adlawan, citing dissatisfaction on the part of consumers regarding MCWD’s service.

Ligutan reiterated that they have a solid basis for the matter and these are sections 6 and 7 of the Presidential Decree 198, which stated that once a district is formed, the district is subject to the provisions of the law, and not under the jurisdiction of any political subdivision.

On top of that, section 7 of PD 198, stated that upon such filing, the local government concerned shall lose ownership, supervision, and control or any right whatsoever over the district.

READ: Cebu Daily Newscast: LWUA claims Rama has no authority to remove MCWD directors

“My clients are in amazement as this drama is unfolding. Every day, it is now unraveling before the eyes of the public, that all along my clients have been right. Ang among gisige ug argue sa korte karon na suportahan na no less than with LWUA, no less than with OGCC,” Ligutan said.

Moreover, the legal counsel further said that the board of directors of the water district has the power to terminate a member because PD 198 grants it all power, privileges, and duties of the water district, pursuant to sections 17 and 26 of the similar presidential decree.

End this madness

“The law is so clearly written that any attempt to justify the mayor’s exercise of jurisdiction over MCWD after its formation is always futile and will only amount to legal gymnastics or logical sophistry,” Ligutan said.

Ligutan told Rama that if he wanted to solve the problems of the water district, he must “end this madness.”

“If you want to adhere to the rule of law, do what is right. End this madness in MCWD, and correct the wrong committed to directors Pe, Sevilla, and Adlawan,” he said.

“Reinstate them as MCWD directors, once and for all,” Ligutan added.

Cebu Daily News Digital has attempted to contact Rama’s team today, November 10, regarding the recent developments at the water distribution agency. However, lawyer Jerone Castillo has stated that he will be issuing a statement on Saturday, November 11.


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TAGS: Cebu City, Mayor Rama, MCWD, water

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