MIWD board takes over old post

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Friday, January 3, 2014


ILOILO Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. reinstated the old members of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) board of directors on Friday, more than three years after they were ousted from the position.

The Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) earlier maneuvered for interim board members, mostly LWUA officials, to replace the regular board, with the issue on whether the city mayor or the provincial governor of Iloilo has the authority to appoint the board members still under court litigation.

It was Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog who appointed the old board, but MIWD general manager Lee Jayme Jalbuena insisted that Defensor has the right to appoint the board members as mandated by the MIWD charter.

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Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Danilo Galvez reaffirmed Defensor’s appointing authority last year, thus the reinstatement.

“When the members of the regular Board, who were ousted as result of the appointment of the interim board, learned that they (interim board members) have resigned, they informed me of their intent to assume office as members of the regular board and we did not object,” Defensor said.

“We did not object because there is no decision in whatever court which says that the appointment of the regular board is illegal and case decided by Judge (Danilo) Galvez only determined who has the appointing authority over the board,” he added.

Reinstated were Dr. Danilo Encarnacion, Dr. Sergio Gonzales, Engr. Adrian Moncada, and accountant Bernadette Castellano.

The regular board will still have to elect the fifth member on Monday, January 6, as former chairman Celso Javellosa’s term expired last year.

The fifth post is vied by lawyer Josephine Abad Caram and Prudencio Relano, both representing the business sector.

Defensor and Mabilog recognized the old board members as the policy making body of the local water district. They assumed office immediately effective January 3, 2014.

The governor said that “at the time the interim board was appointed, there was no final determination or clear and convincing evidence by a competent body or committee that the appointment of the old board is illegal or not. They are entitled of the presumption that their appointment is legal.”

Mabilog said he expects the old MIWD board to enforce the needed reforms to improve the services of the city’s sole water distributor. “I expect them to open everything so the public may know what’s happening at MIWD.”

As to the fate of Jalbuena, the governor said that his position is co-terminus, thus he can be terminated on the ground of loss of confidence.

Defensor will also appoint the successor of Javelosa next week. (PR/Lydia Pendon)

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