Nullification sought on LWUA order-A A +A
Thursday, October 24, 2013
BACOLOD City Water District (Baciwa) director Marichi Ramos has filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Monday which sought the nullification of the letter-order of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) denying the confirmation of her appointment as representative of the professional sector with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction.
Ramos filed the petition against Manuel Yoingco, officer-in-charge of LWUA, acting administrator Eduardo Santos, and Juliana Carbon, general manager of Baciwa, preventing them from implementing the letter of Yoingco, denying the confirmation of her appointment, and ordering her replacement/removal pending further orders from the Court.
Ramos’ petition is anchored on the ground that neither Yoingco nor Santos has the authority or legal basis for denial of confirmation and ordering her replacement/removal as director of Baciwa.
Roger Reyes, counsel for Ramos, on Wednesday said they will also file a complaint against Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella before the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for abuse of authority because the CSC has ruled that he has no right to remove.
This came after Puentevella ordered the removal of Ramos as representative of the professional sector in the Baciwa board deriving his alleged right from the letter of LWUA.
Reyes said he believes Puentevella is not aware of the internal conflict in Baciwa.
Ramos was appointed by Representative Evelio Leonardia (lone district, Bacolod) on January 1 for a 6-year term in the Baciwa board as provided in Section 11 of Presidential Decree (PD) 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.
She was elected secretary of the Board of Directors and later appointed chairman of the Finance Committee.
In her petition, Ramos said the letter-order dated Oct. 14 was issued clearly with grave abuse of discretion and in clear violation of due process without affording her proper notice and hearing of the alleged complaint of the Baciwa Employees Union-NAFLU against her appointment.
Ramos said the letter directive is irreconcilable and in clear violation of the recent decision of the CSC dated April 8 declaring null and void the action of LWUA in the removal of Danilo Encarnacion as director of the Metro Iloilo Water District on the ground that LWUA has no legal power and authority to remove directors of a water district.
She said she was constrained to resort to judicial relief with prayer for a temporary restraining order of at least a 20 days and a preliminary injunction in as much as Carbon has already declared her position as director vacant and has excluded her in the listing of directors entitled to per diems in attending board meetings.
Carbon, however, denied having declared Ramos’ seat vacant because she has no authority and that she is not from LWUA.
She said it is the Secretariat who makes requests on who will receive per diems for attending Board meetings and she has no control over them.
Carbon said she has not yet received a copy of the petition filed by Ramos.
Ramos had initially questioned the Baciwa management regarding the 47 percent systems losses and as chairman of the chairman of the Finance Committee, investigated and eventually uncovered anomalies and technicalities in the implementation of a water system improvement project for Baciwa financed by a P537 million loan from LWUA.
She said that based on PD 198 the LWUA represented by Yoingco and Santos is not empowered and authorized by law to remove directors of water districts but can only remove for cause.
Their removal is reviewable only by the LWUA but it is not vested with the power to remove.
Ramos said she is asking the Court to issue a TRO/preliminary injunction to prevent the respondents, their subordinates, agents/or representatives from enforcing the Oct. 14 letter order denying her confirmation and ordering her replacement as director of Baciwa.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 24, 2013.