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LWUA-appointed general manager barred from entering MCWD building

By: Futch Anthony Inso, Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Correspondent and Reporter - CDN Digital | April 15,2024 - 01:18 PM

LWUA-appointed general manager barred from entering MCWD building

LWUA-appointed general manager, Lawyer John Dx Lapid has been barred from entering MCWD building by the water district office’s security guards on April 15. CDN Digital photo | Niña Mae Oliverio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The tension between the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) is far from over. 

On Monday, April 15, the LWUA officers and staff, including Lawyer John Dx Lapid, acting general manager appointed by the LWUA interim board of directors (IBOD), was barred from entering the MCWD building. 


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This was in accordance to the memorandum signed by MCWD General Manager Edgar Donoso dated April 15, pursuant to the MCWD Board resolution dated April 12. 

In MCWD’s resolution, crafted after the board of directors’ special board meeting on April 12, they said that Lapid “seemingly acted in betrayal” of the water district’s trust in him “as a public servant.”

The special board meeting was attended by MCWD Chairman Jose Daluz III, Vice Chairman Miguelito Pato, and Secretary Jodelyn May Seno. 

The BOD said that Lapid’s actions defied the “status quo” that was adopted by the MCWD, and that Lapid “has participated in actions that align with the IBOD’s usurpation” of the BOD’s authority. 

Moreover, the BOD said that the takeover of LWUA and the subsequent actions taken by the IBOD “have created chaos and confusion and has raised significant concerns regarding the legality and integrity of LWUA’s intervention within MCWD.”


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The MCWD board also cited the opinion of Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), stating that the opinion “discussed that LWUA’s power to intervene in water district operations is not absolute and must be exercised with caution within the limits imposed by Presidential Decree 198.” 

“The actions of the IBOD have prompted the need for accountability and rectification of the oversteps in governance of an autonomous water district and the usurpation of authority,” the MCWD board said.

 MCWD lockdown

Consequently, the BOD has directed Donoso to implement a lockdown to secure the MCWD premises and ensure unhampered public service, protect their employees’ well-being and safety against any form of intimidation and harassment. 

Apart from that they also authorized Donoso to file necessary criminal and administrative cases against the IBOD. 

They also directed Donoso to issue a show cause order to Lapid for usurpation of authority of the General Manager, insubordination, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”

The MCWD also tasked Donoso to let Lapid explain his involvement in the actions in support of the illegal takeover that defied the status quo adopted by the MCWD. 

On Monday around 6 a.m., after learning that he was barred from entering the MCWD building, Lapid took to Facebook livestream using his personal account, expressing his frustration over the BOD’s decision. 

“Nanawagan sad ko sa mga manager sa MCWD nga pamarog na intawon mo. Paningog intawn mo. Kini akong gibuhat dili ni para sa akoang kaugalingog interest pero para ni sa MCWD, para ni sa katawhan sa Sugbo,” Lapid said.  

(I am appealing to the managers of MCWD that they should take a stand. You should have your voice be heard. What I am doing is not for my own interest but this is for the MCWD, this is for the people of Cebu.)

Lapid also called for support from the staff of the MCWD. He said that he was not after the position he was assigned to. 

“Wa man ko magapas ani. Igo ra ko nituman og kamandoan sa LWUA,” Lapid said. 

(I am not after this (position). I am just obeying the order of LWUA.)

LWUA order bars Daluz, Donoso at MCWD

Meanwhile, in an interview with local radio station DYSS Super Radyo, Lapid said that the security agency in the MCWD has already been mandated by the LWUA to bar the entry of Daluz and Donoso. 

“Nabali naman hinuon ako naman hinuoy di pasudlon diri sa building. Nabali naman hinuon ang narrative ani. Ako namay hinuon ang di pasudlon,” Lapid said. 

(It has been reversed, I am now not the one who is not allowed in the building. The narrative has already been reversed. I am now not the one allowed to enter (the MCWD building).)

Lapid said that Cebu City was still addressing the issue of the water crisis due to El Niño, yet the “suspended” board of directors were focusing on a different matter. 

Despite what had transpired, Lapid said that he wanted to clarify that he did not have anything personal against Donoso and Daluz and the other members of the board. 

LWUA administrator on MCWD row

Meanwhile, in a separate interview of DYSS Super Radyo with Lawyer Jose Moises Salonga, the new LWUA administrator, Salonga said he wanted to remind the concerned individuals that the suspension of the MCWD Board “has been taken noted” of by the Commission on Audit (COA), the Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Land Bank of the Philippines. 

Salonga also said that he was “sad” after learning what had happened to Lapid on Monday morning. 

“I’d like to remind them that they are government officials. Hindi nila pagmamay-ari ang MCWD…I don’t know ano ba talaga ang meron dyan (sa MCWD) at ayaw nila bumaba and serve their suspension,” Salonga said. 

(They don’t onw the MCWD…I don’t know what is really in there (MCWD) that they will not leave their post and will not serve their suspension.)

“Also note na meron tayong tinatawag na presumption of government regularity, so yung ginagawa natin is presumed to be legal,” Salonga added. 

(Also note that we have what we call the presumption of government regularity, so what we are doing is presumed to be legal.)

Salonga said that the status quo that the BOD was adopting “has no basis in law.”

LWUA suspension

In a press conference with the BOD on the same day around 9 a.m., Donoso told reporters that they had not yet received any notice of suspension from LWUA. 

In its letter dated March 15, LWUA said that it would take over the policy-making functions of the water district for six months starting from March 15, 2024.

The intervention that was approved by the LWUA board of trustees under Presidential Decree No. 198 signifies a turning point in the ongoing dispute over the management of the utility firm.

Salonga implemented the board’s resolution No. 35 that was issued in 2023, which required MCWD board members to cease from performing their functions during LWUA’s supervision. | with reports from Josh Almonte, USPF Intern


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TAGS: Lawyer John Dx Lapid, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD)

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