STARTING Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, former Cebu City administrator Floro Casas Jr. and Jose Daluz III, Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors chairman, began serving as advisers on financial and legal matters to Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia.

Casas and Daluz are long-time friends and political allies of the vice mayor.

Casas is the chairman of the Panaghiusa Party, while Daluz serves as its president.

The Panaghiusa Party formed a coalition with the Partido Barug, Kusug Party and the PDP-Laban in the presidential and local elections in May 2022.

“Attorney Casas is my adviser on legal matters. I have a lot of confidence in him. We were classmates in law school, and we reviewed for the Bar together,” Garcia said.

Meanwhile, the vice mayor said Daluz’s experience in financial management was one of the reasons he decided to get the latter’s services.

“I also have a lot of confidence in Daluz because he was budget chairman for a long time while he was still a city councilor,” he said.

Daluz also served as manager of the South Road Properties in 2019.

Garcia said Casas and Daluz will serve as his personal advisers and will not receive a centavo from the City Government.

He said he will appoint more advisers in the coming months to help him run the Office of the Vice Mayor.

Controversial

Both advisers are controversial personalities.

As administrator for then mayor Edgardo Labella, Casas saw three batches of cases filed against him in September 2021.

Radio commentator Arturo Barrit lodged a complaint against Casas and other officials of the Cebu City Government before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 over P19.5 million in packed meals bought from a caterer allegedly “favored” by the City.

Businessman Crisologo Saavedra also filed a complaint at the NBI against Casas, Cebu City Attorney Rey Gealon, and six members of the Bids and Awards Committee for alleged anomalies in the bidding of the second phase of the City’s modern traffic lights and CCTV projects.

Casas also faced criminal and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for alleged irregular expenditures and transactions which he entered into on behalf of the City.

The complaint, filed by Cebu City residents Nicaster Elim Lumacad and Andrew Jacalan Lumapguid, involved the alleged overpriced rentals of vehicles for the City’s free ride service program for health frontliners during the suspension of public transportation between March to November 2020 amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic.

Resignation calls

As for Daluz, he faced calls last August from the MCWD Employees Union to resign over the water utility’s poor corporate performance, increase in the percentage of non-revenue water, and the alleged sale of water supposed to be given free to the affected residents during the Covid-19 pandemic and after Typhoon Odette (Rai) to hotels and restaurants.

The union also complained about MCWD’s procurement of vehicles and allegedly non-functional generators instead of investing in the repair of damaged pipelines, as well as interference in the hiring process of employees.

In September, Daluz denied that he had interfered with the selection process to accommodate the entry of Casas in the water district.

Daluz said the inclusion of Casas in the list of nominees for the assistant general manager post went through proper procedures, and that even if he preferred Casas for the post, he was not the only one who would approve it.