THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 dismissed the mandamus case filed by former Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) director Lawrence Villanueva against incumbent director David Villanueva and Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

The original respondent in the case was then Mayor Monico Puentevella, who was sued in an official capacity. He was later substituted upon the motion of the Office of the City Legal Officer, by the incumbent Mayor Leonardia, upon the court’s order dated October 27, 2016, ordering the name of Puentevella to be dropped from the title of the case, and in his stead, the incumbent mayor as party respondent.

The nine-page decision dated January 23, 2017, and signed by Judge Fernando Elumba stated that the petition, should be dismissed for lack of merit.

In February 2015, the Local Water Utilities Administration confirmed the appointment of David Villanueva as director.

Lawrence Villanueva filed a petition for mandamus and prohibition with prayer for issuance of temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Puentevella and his appointee David Villanueva to prevent the latter from sitting in the Baciwa Board.

The order said the petitioner theorized that then mayor Pueventevella, in utter disregard of the provisions of Presidential Decree 198 and with grave abuse of discretion, appointed David Villanueva to the position of director despite the fact that the said person was neither included in the list of nominees nor validly nominated by a registered civic organization in the city.

The petitioner posits that it was only he who happened to be the only validly nominated nominee for the position, and was appointed by the majority of Baciwa directors, in accordance with Section 10 of PD 198, it added.

The court further said there is nothing from the provision of the law in point Section 10 of the Presidential Decree 198 that vests authority to the Secretary of the Board to determine who among the nominees are qualified or not.

This court gives merit to the contention of then respondent Puentevella, in his capacity as then mayor of Bacolod, the averment that nominations must be supported by accurate and complete documentation is totally misleading, it added.