Briones: The plot thickens over at MCWD

On the go
Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

What’s in the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) that Jose Daluz III cannot let go of?


Why is he fighting tooth and nail to keep his post as chairman of the water district’s policy-making body?

So far he has managed to thwart the more than three attempts by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to have him ousted.

Plus all the legal issues involved makes my head spin.

For more than a year Daluz and Rama have been hurling allegations back and forth so it’s hard to distinguish who is making things up and who is not.

There might be a grain of truth in what either one of them is saying. After all, if there is smoke, there is probably someone smoking.

I have shied away from the topic because I’m not privy to what goes on behind closed doors, so I really don’t know what’s going on between the two men.

Still, these are serious questions that deserve serious thinking.

Daluz may have managed to dodge Rama’s bullets, but now he is up against the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

All was well and good when it was still run by someone who appeared to have sympathies for Daluz. But now the agency is under new management.

And it was no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who made the appointment last month.

Now, to those who don’t know, the LWUA Board of Trustees decided to appoint an interim board for MCWD back last September yet.

The resolution numbered 35 ordered the incumbent MCWD board – it didn’t matter whether it was the Daluz-led board or the board led by Rama appointee Melquiades Feliciano – to cease and desist from discharging their functions for the next six months.

But Resolution 35 was never enforced because someone had intervened. Now that someone is no longer at LWUA.

So lo and behold, last March 15, Daluz and board members Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno and two others received their temporary marching orders.

At first, Daluz said he would abide by the LWUA decision. But last Wednesday, March 20, he had a sudden change of heart. Perhaps buoyed by the unwavering support of MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso, who defied the order pending the response over the takeover’s legality.

What I don’t understand is why question it now when Daluz and company had known about it for quite some time. I mean, how could they have not known?

Thankfully, more light was shed when LWUA chairman Ronnie Ong held a press conference on Thursday, March 21, at the MCWD building in downtown Cebu City.

Firstly, Ong said the partial intervention is for the purpose of investigating issues surrounding the water district.

He also clarified that “they are not taking over the water district but only ‘setting aside’ the current board in order for them to investigate and check all the documents.”

The new LWUA administrator, Jose Moises Salonga, said it would seem the MCWD board is questioning LWUA’s powers to investigate “when these powers are found in Presidential Decree 198.”

He pointed out that LWUA can intervene “even without court processes.”

Daluz, in a separate interview, said they don’t have a beef with LWUA as an institution. Their problem is with Ong, he said.

And why is that? Please enlighten us.

Daluz then went on to say that he could see the Rama administration’s hand in the matter. Even if that is the case, what has that got to do with anything?

Salonga, as a presidential appointee, is duly authorized to enforce Resolution 35. If he isn’t, please explain to me why.

Meanwhile, Salonga questioned the legality of Donoso’s action to declare a status quo last Monday.

It would appear that Donoso, who is not a member of the MCWD board, has been going out on a limb for Daluz. I admire his loyalty, his sense of justice if you can call it that, but I think he may have gone too far this time.

Still, I hope once and for all this mess will be settled. Because amid the ongoing bickering, Metro Cebu is facing a serious water supply problem.

I don’t know what it is with Daluz, Donoso and company. They are so strong-willed, so defiant... it must be the water.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.