Garcia distances self from Baciwa

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Friday, December 13, 2013

BACOLOD City Water District (Baciwa) appointed director Ramiro Garcia Jr. said he decided to temporarily refrain from discharging his duties until all legal issues hounding his appointment and that of Marichi Ramos, then appointee for the same post, is legally concluded.

Garcia, a former vice mayor of Bacolod, issued Thursday the statement before the board members of the Baciwa before the conduct of their regular meeting.

Garcia aired his stand without any aid from a legal counsel and without the consent of his appointing officer, Mayor Monico Puentevella.

"It is my decision to refrain from participating in any meetings of the Baciwa Board until all legal issues have been resolved,” Garcia said.

Garcia said that since Ramos believed that she is still a member of the board, due to a status quo order of the court, they have a peculiar situation considering that he also received notice asking him to attend the board meeting.

“We now have a peculiar situation where there are seven members sitting in the Board of Directors which consists of only six members, unless the chairman states that I am not recognized as a member contrary to the appointment made by the city mayor,” he said.

Garcia added that he feared any act of the board might be nullified, because there are seven members participating.

“There are many important matters that need action from the Board and inaction on the part of the Board could jeopardize the operations of Baciwa. I do not want to be part of such consequence. Water is very important to all of us and I cannot jeopardize the operation of a utility company," he added.

After Garcia attended the board meeting last November 26 following his appointment, Ramos included him as respondent in her amended petition.

Ramos has a pending petition before the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City seeking the nullification of the order of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to replace her because of certain questions regarding her credentials.

Ramos was able to obtain a 20-day temporary restraining order until November 18. A day after, Garcia was appointed by Puentevella to replace Ramos as representative of the professional sector.

Garcia said it has been established that LWUA does not have the power to remove an appointed director, but only to review and confirm the qualifications of a director.

He said the power to appoint and to remove is vested in the city mayor as the appointing authority.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 44 is set to hear the civil case filed by Ramos against Manuel Yoingco of LWUA and others, including Garcia. (CNC)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 13, 2013.

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