FORMER South Road Properties (SRP) manager Jose Daluz III is the new chairman of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s (MCWD) board of directors (BOD).
Lawyer and SunStar Cebu columnist Francisco Malilong Jr. and Miguelito Pato were picked vice chairman and secretary during an election on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.
The Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), led by its acting administrator Jeci Lapus, has confirmed Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s appointments of Daluz, Malilong and Pato.
Lapus attended the turnover ceremony on Monday.
He said Daluz, Malilong and Pato can start their duties as members of the board of directors, while the LWUA is still evaluating the appointments of former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia and lawyer Manolette Dinsay.
Daluz, Malilong and Pato replaced the interim BOD that LWUA had formed.
Leading the BOD is a challenge for Daluz and his fellow BOD members.
“Wish us all luck and pray for us. We promise to do our best to make Cebu City better in water service,” Daluz said.
He said they are planning to build a new dam in Mananga River in Talisay City, a desalination plant and find more water sources.
Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña filed complaints against Labella early this month over Labella’s removal of five members of the BOD.
Charges of usurpation of authority or official functions, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Grave Misconduct were lodged by Osmeña against Labella before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Lapus was also charged by Osmeña.
Osmeña has accused Labella of committing criminal and administrative liabilities for illegally removing the MCWD’s past board members composed of Joel Mari Yu, former Cebu City councilors Augustus Pe Jr. and Procopio Fernandez, and lawyers Ralph Sevilla and Cecilia Adlawan.
On Oct. 1, 2019, Labella issued notices of termination against Yu, Pe, Fernandez, Sevilla and Adlawan. Lapus did not object to Labella’s move to replace them saying that it is consistent to Section 11 of Presidential Decree 198 or the Local Water District law.
Osmeña cited a memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that states that local water districts are autonomous from the mandate of local government units.
On Dec. 5, 2019, Pe, Adlawan and Sevilla filed a case against Labella and the LWUA to nullify the notice of termination issued against them.
They also sought the court’s intervention concerning the LWUA’s decision to appoint an interim board at the MCWD.
In his affidavit, Osmeña said that on Oct. 1, 2019, Lapus agreed to Labella’s order to terminate the services of the former board members.
But 23 days later, Lapus sent a notice to the former BOD members to respond to Labella’s notice of termination against them. (PAC / RSR)