Judge’s son joins city legal team in Baciwa case

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

LAWYER Omar Demonteverde, son of Regional Trial Court Branch 44 Judge Franklin Demonteverde, has joined the legal team of the City Government to represent Mayor Monico Puentevella in the case filed by embattled Bacolod City Water (Baciwa) District director Marichi Ramos against him.

The mayor’s move of hiring the services of Demonteverde would lead to a face-off between the young lawyer and his father, who is hearing the petition filed by Ramos.

Ramos has asked the court to prevent Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) officer-in-charge Manuel Yoingco, Office of the Acting LWUA Administrator officer-in-charge Eduardo Santos, and Baciwa general manager Juliana Carbon from implementing the order of Yoingco for her replacement/removal pending further orders from the court.

The court has issued a 20-day temporary restraining order and a subsequent status quo order in favor of Ramos, who filed an amended petition including the mayor and Architect Ramiro Garcia, who was appointed by Puentevella to replace her as Baciwa director representing the professional sector.

The LWUA officials have questioned the credentials of Ramos, who is supposedly an optometrist, to represent the professional sector.
Puentevella said he was forced by circumstances to set up a legal battle between a father, who is a trial court judge, and a son, who is a lawyer of the city government of Bacolod.

"In order to avoid trouble, the judge should excuse or inhibit himself from the case," he said.

He added: “The LWUA has already ordered that somebody in the board is not qualified. There is such thing called ‘delicadeza."

Puentevella also lauded Garcia for showing statesmanship.

“This is the kind of people that we need in the Baciwa Board,” the mayor said.

On Thursday, Garcia said he has decided to temporarily refrain from discharging his duties as a duly-appointed director of Baciwa until all legal issues hounding his appointment and that of Ramos, the appointee of then Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia for the same post, is legally concluded.

Garcia said he fears that any act of the board might be nullified because there are seven members participating, including him, in the meetings instead of only six.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 14, 2013.

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