Rama to ‘forcibly’ remove Daluz, 2 others from MCWD

Mayor michael rama says the Local Water Utilities Administration’s inaction on the matter has forced him to do its job “in the principle of act of preservation.”
Mayor michael rama says the Local Water Utilities Administration’s inaction on the matter has forced him to do its job “in the principle of act of preservation.” SUNSTAR FILE

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has no qualms about using his police power against Jose Daluz III and two other members of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors (BOD) if they continue to refuse to step down from office.

Rama made the announcement during a Zoom meeting after the flag ceremony on City Hall grounds on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. The mayor is currently on a month-long vacation in Australia.

“LWUA (Local Water Utilities Administration) is supposed to be doing their job... now they are not doing their job then the mayor will have to do his job under the police power, and the principle of act of preservation,” he said.

While the mayor was making his announcement, Daluz was also leading the flag ceremony outside the MCWD building where he urged employees to rise up and protect the full autonomy of the water utility firm.

Daluz told them now was the right moment to stand up against “bullying” from a local government unit.

Police power

Police power, as outlined in the Local Government Code of 1991, refers to the authority of a chief executive to enforce laws and regulations, maintain public order, and protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens within their jurisdiction.

Rama has urged Daluz, Miguelito Pato, and Jodelyn May Seno to step down from their seats.

“Ang MCWD ampo lang jud mo...ang kanang tulo diha dili magpabaga og nawng. Wala na na sila’y trust and confidence sa mayor,” Rama said.

(Those three people at MCWD who refuse to vacate their posts do not have the mayor’s trust and confidence.)

He reiterated that the power to appoint includes the power to remove, saying the late mayor Edgardo Labella also removed the BOD during the latter’s tenure.

Last Oct. 31, Rama introduced retired army major general Melquiades Feliciano as Daluz’s replacement, and Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos as replacements of Pato and Seno.

SunStar Cebu, in a text message, asked Rama what he meant by using his police power, but the mayor has yet to respond as of press time.

JOSE DALUZ III calls on employees of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to unite and protect the full autonomy of the water utility firm against Cebu City.
JOSE DALUZ III calls on employees of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to unite and protect the full autonomy of the water utility firm against Cebu City. SUNSTAR FILE

Daluz, for his part, said that despite the mayor’s announcement, they will still continue to stand their ground until LWUA renders its decision.

He said they have to follow LWUA’s order since it is the regulatory arm of MCWD.

“I said to MCWD (employees) to rise up to this occasion as a better and stronger MCWD,” he said in a follow-up interview.

LWUA’s decisions

In a press conference on Oct. 31, Daluz told reporters that the BOD, including himself, will follow whatever decision LWUA will come up with to address the latest rift between the local water district and the City Government.

However, LWUA has not issued a final decision on the matter.

Daluz said he heard that LWUA board of trustees led by Ronnie Ong wanted to remove them (referring to him, Pato, and Seno) and heed Rama’s request, as the agency follows the rationale that it cannot go against a local government unit.

“He (Ong) wants to remove us. However duha man kining LWUA, the board and the administrator. The administrator doesn’t want to implement the order of the board,” Daluz said.

“So iyahang (LWUA administrator) gipasaka sa OGCC (Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) to ask for opinion, whether this was a valid LWUA resolution,” he said.

Daluz said the OGCC issued a favorable opinion in their favor, stating that LWUA’s power is limited to the management and operation of the water district, and it cannot enforce a takeover of the BOD in accordance with Presidential Decree (PD) 198.

The only exception is contained in Section 8 of PD 198 as amended by Section 2 of PD 1479, which states that removal of any personnel must be done validly and lawfully or through a resolution from the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ong, in a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Monday, said the LWUA board of trustees already approved and adopted Board Resolution 35 last Sept. 28 providing for an interim board to be appointed for MCWD, as well as the partial intervention of LWUA on the water district.

He said they gave LWUA management, through LWUA administrator Vince Revil, seven days to implement the resolution, which it has not done until now.

“Truth be told, the LWUA board of trustees is disappointed with this delay despite the board swiftly passing and adopting the board resolution. As of today, it is up to the LWUA management through LWUA Administrator Vince Revil to act on it and implement it by appointing the interim board of directors as provided already by Board Resolution 35,” said Ong, chairman of the LWUA board of trustees.

Trending

No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph