THE conflict between the employees of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and its board of directors continues to rear its ugly head.

This as MCWD’s Employees Union (MEU) alleged that its board led by their chairman, lawyer Jose “Joey” Daluz III, manipulated its selection process to give favor to former Cebu City administrator Floro Casas Jr. to be appointed as one of the water district’s assistant general managers.

Casas, who served as city administrator to the late Cebu City mayor Edgardo Labella, is a close friend of Daluz.

Casas even serves as the chairman of Partido Panaghiusa, of which Daluz is currently president and one of the founders.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, MEU president Abigail Almeria questioned the board’s gesture of accommodating Casas’ application for the position of assistant general manager for administration even though the selection process had concluded last January.

According to Almeria, the selection process should have been completed in January 2022, but the current officials of the water district did not appoint any one of the four applicants who were all incumbent MCWD officials.

SunStar Cebu has yet to secure the names of the four applicants for the position.

Almeria alleged that none of the four was appointed because the “preferred candidate” of the MCWD board had not yet been able to submit the requirements.

She said they were surprised to find out later that Casas had applied for the position when the MCWD board reopened the selection process in July this year.

“We look at it as an accommodation (and) giving of unwarranted benefit. Why did they not confirm any of the qualified applicants during the first selection process?” Almeria said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Nothing against Casas

Almeria said they are not against anyone who wants to apply for a position at MCWD, but they were just dismayed at how the current board of directors manipulated the process.

She added that someone who has worked in MCWD and has ample work experience with the water district should be the preferred candidate for the position.

“Yes, we prefer insiders because they are qualified and they know how to manage the water district. If we follow the Civil Service Commission’s mandate on appointing those based on merit and fitness, current MCWD employees should be prioritized,” she added.

No record of anomaly

She added that the candidate for the position should not have a record of anomaly since he would be tasked to do administrative jobs.

“Also, kay admin man na, dapat walay bahid-dungis, kung sa Tagalog pa. Walay mga kaso bisan filed pa lang sa Office of the Ombudsman,” Almeria added. (No cases should have been filed against him, not even before the Office of the Ombudsman only.)

SunStar Cebu tried to get Daluz’s and Casas’ side on the matter but calls and texts to their cellular phones remained unanswered as of press time.

This was not the first time that MEU had an issue with Daluz and the current members of MCWD’s board of directors.

Last August, MEU members led by Almeria called for the resignation of Daluz and his fellow directors as they feared the privatization of the government-owned utility provider amid its poor corporate performance in the past two years.

Last Aug. 19, some 100 employees of MCWD walked out to protest the poor corporate performance of the government- owned utility provider, citing the drop in the district’s income to P34.27 million in 2021 from P211.35 million in 2019.

Aside from Daluz, MCWD’s board consists of lawyer and SunStar Cebu columnist Francisco “Frank” Malilong Jr., vice chairman; Miguelito “Mike” Pato, secretary; and members Manolette Dinsay and Jodelyn May Seno.