COWD reprimands staff for exposing docs on FB-A A +A
Monday, August 19, 2013
AFTER years of acting as a “whistleblower” of the government-owned Cagayan de Oro Water District (Cowd) and not being censured for it, an employee of the said water utility was finally reprimanded by the firm’s management -- after bringing his exposés to the social networking site, Facebook.
Engr. Emmanuel Mulawan said he received a memorandum from Cowd general manager Rachel Beja for posting some of the water utility’s documents on Facebook page sometime last month.
Mulawan works in the Cowd Engineering Department as senior draftsman.
The memorandum, GM-199-2013, dated July 26, signed by Beja, directed Mulawan to explain the source of the Cowd documents that he posted online, including board resolutions, management recommendations, correspondence, among others.
In addition, Beja said posting those official documents on Facebook could be “detrimental to Cowd or libelous to its officers.”
Mulawan said the memorandum was intended to harass him.
In his reply to the memo, Mulawan cited Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 or the Civil Service Law that says, in part: “Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty… and uphold public interest over personal interest.”
“I only want the Cowd board and management to be transparent. Since the concessionaires are our boss, they deserve to know the truth,” Mulawan told Sun.Star Sunday afternoon.
Copies of Mulawan’s reply were also given to Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, Civil Service Commission in Northern Mindanao, Office of the Ombudsman, and Cowd’s FLOW, a group of the utility’s employees.
During a recorded closed-door meeting between Beja and Mulawan last July 19, Beja told Mulawan that if he wanted to help Cowd, “they can solve it in a proper forum.”
“Since he (Mulawan) presented it (documents) to the public, it could prejudice Cowd,” Beja said, adding: “all of these anomalies are already with the Ombudsman. It may bring criticism to Cowd.”
The Facebook post was not the first time that Mulawan initiated to bring Cowd issues to the public.
Among the issues that he exposed to the media before included the Cowd board of directors’ approval of P100,000 that former City Mayor Vicente Emano allegedly solicited for fiesta activities in 2011, which Mulawan considered as “illegal”; the breakfast that the board had also in 2011 worth P13,000, which he also called “illegal”; and allowing Rio Verde to win the bidding to supply Cowd with bulk water when, Mulawan said, it should not be considering that Rio Verde only complied with the necessary legal paperwork after it won the bidding. In a bidding process, requirements must be submitted before winning a bid.
Mulawan said he based his accusation on the findings of Commission on Audit that a signed contract between Rio Verde, a bulk water provider of Cowd, and the water utility, of the Bulk Water Supply Project was allegedly “anomalous.”
He said Beja, who was formerly with Cowd’s bids and awards committee, already knew that that contract which was signed in 2004 was “defective.”
“But she did nothing about it. She was mum about it,” Mulawan added.
Mulawan said what he posted on Facebook is his way of telling the public that the present Cowd leadership “is doing something (to defend Cowd).”
“I do not want fame, I just wanted the public to know the truth,” he said.
Mulawan said he thinks that the Cowd management only reacted to his Facebook posts because what he exposed on social media could go viral that could reach to more people.
He did not receive any memorandum before from Cowd when he started his exposés in 2010.
Mulawan said he is not afraid to tell the truth as he has documents to back up his accusations. (With report from Jigger J. Jerusalem)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 19, 2013.