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Rama hits deposed MCWD board’s move: ‘Desperate effort for power’ 

By: Kim Ablaña - CTU Intern - CDN Digital | March 23,2024 - 02:15 PM

Rama MCWD Daluz

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III. [file photos)

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City mayor Michael Rama has criticized the deposed directors of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) for their disobedience to the Local Water Utilities Administration’s (LWUA) decision to implement a six-month intervention with a new set of interim board. 

The mayor denounced the action calling it a “desperate effort” by the removed officials to hold onto power.

Rama, who is now in Taiwan for a summit event, recently voiced his displeasure with the acts of the MCWD directors who were removed. He even compared their effort to “clinging onto a knife’s edge” in order to maintain power in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

“Iyang hunahuna nga mao nalang nay makuptan. Maypang mokanta sila og ‘My Way’,” he added.

READ: MCWD: LWUA takeover sparks controversy, Daluz challenges authority

Moreover, Rama asserted his power and reiterated his backing for the directors he had named the previous year, saying that they were the rightful members of the board. 

These members include retired military general Melquiades Feliciano, lawyer Aristotle Batuhan and businessman Nelson Yuvallos.

“I maintain that I wish nga akong gi-appoint na board, and I still maintain that they are still my board and they are the authentic board,” he said in Ingna’ng Mayor over Sugboanon Channel.

He then cited Presidential Decree 198 to support his assertion that he has the authority to designate MCWD board members, a position supported by a regional trial court.

However, confirmation regarding the matter is yet to be known as LWUA introduced a different set of interim board members for the time being. 

LWUA’s intervention in MCWD’s affairs began on March 15.

READ: Rama hopes new LWUA exec will resolve MCWD’s leadership dispute

Despite LWUA’s directive for them to cease their functions, MCWD General Manager Edgar Donoso and other directors insisted on maintaining a “status quo,” rejecting LWUA’s intervention.

Despite having initially followed Salonga’s directive, former MCWD chairman Joey Daluz suddenly changed his decision and announced support for the “status quo” order, arguing that LWUA lacks legal standing. 

A “status quo stance” refers to a position or attitude of maintaining or preserving the current situation or state of affairs, which came as a direct refusal of LWUA’s intervention order. 

LWUA representatives, including chairman Ronnie Ong and administrator Jose Moises Salonga, attempted to resolve the developing dispute on March 21 during a visit to the MCWD office. 

In a press conference, Salonga even questioned Donoso’s authority to declare a status quo, as he believed that such authority lay solely within the jurisdiction of the courts.

READ: Village, condo residents urged to conserve water amid El Niño

Moreover, he contested MCWD chairman Daluz’s statement that their intervention lacked legal basis, arguing that they could intervene even without court processes. 

In the event that the MCWD board refuses to honor the partial intervention of LWUA, Salonga stated that necessary “legal actions” would have to be taken.

Meanwhile, Ronnie Ong  made it clear that the intervention had no political purpose, contrary to what Daluz had been insinuating.

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TAGS: Cebu City, Joey Daluz, LWUA, Mayor Rama, MCWD

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