Rama wants MCWD general manager out

EDGAR DONOSO, Metropolitan Cebu Water District general manager, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, said he would abide by the decisions of the board of directors who appointed him, meaning the board led by Jose Daluz III. Daluz, along with two other board members, have refused to vacate their seats despite their replacement with other appointees last month by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
EDGAR DONOSO, Metropolitan Cebu Water District general manager, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, said he would abide by the decisions of the board of directors who appointed him, meaning the board led by Jose Daluz III. Daluz, along with two other board members, have refused to vacate their seats despite their replacement with other appointees last month by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. SunStar File

FOLLOWING the Metropolitan Cebu Water District employees’ voicing of their support for Jose Daluz III as chairman of the board of directors and his other board officials, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has now expressed plans to remove Edgar Donoso as general manager.

“I do not respect, especially the GM (general manager), and I want him out. My position, I want the GM out,” Rama said on the position of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) employees during an interview on the Sugboanon Channel’s segment “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the MCWD employees, composed of different employee associations like the Association of MCWD Managers (AMM), MCWD Supervisors Association (MSA), MCWD Employees Union (MEU), and the Non-Regular Manpower Resources Association (NRMRA), said in a statement that they wanted the status quo.

The status quo expresses the employees’ acknowledgment of Daluz as chairman, Miguelito Pato as vice chairman, and Jodelyn May Seno as member, along with Rama appointees Earl Bonachita and Danilo Ortiz as members--amid the squabble among three groups claiming to be the rightful board of directors of the water utility.

When Rama was asked why he wanted the general manager out, he said the GM should be asked instead of him.

Rama said he does not want to be repetitious, saying that his order is clear.

“The MCWD new set of board of directors led by general Mel (Melquiades) Feliciano, they all have carried my respect,” he said.

“He (Donoso) does not carry my respect anymore,” Rama said.

He said it is the previous board who wanted themselves out from their positions, saying that he only wanted them to be downgraded, emphasizing that the decision now depends on the present board of directors whom he had appointed last Oct. 31.

However, he also wishes that the acting mayor, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, would hear him out.

“Once and for all, kumpletoha na sila (make it complete), a new GM, and with the new set of board of directors,” he said.

Donoso speaks out

In a statement issued on Thursday, Donoso expressed his commitment to abide by the decisions of the board of directors who appointed him, officially confirmed by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

He said he would continue in his role if they deem it necessary to retain his services.

He said that according to Section 23 of Presidential Decree 198, as amended, the board is solely authorized to appoint a general manager, delineate their responsibilities and set their compensation, and removal from office can only occur for valid reasons following due process.

“I continue to hold Mayor Michael Rama in high regard, and I hope he understands that MCWD’s stance is solely motivated by the necessity to uphold the authority of our governing body, establish a clear direction and ensure uninterrupted service,” Donoso said.

On Dec. 16, 2022, the MCWD board of directors led by chairman Daluz appointed Donoso as GM for the water district firm.

Donoso has dedicated 35 years of service to MCWD. His journey began in 1983 as a relief clerk, and over time, he progressed through various roles such as accounting clerk, chief accountant, and manager of the Accounting Department. In December 2008, he was appointed assistant general manager for finance.

Donoso’s academic background includes an Accounting degree from the University of San Carlos in 1982, successful completion of the Certified Public Accountant board exam in 1984, and obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Cebu in 2006.

SunStar Cebu reached out to retired major general Melquiades Feliciano for comment on whether he intended to heed Rama’s suggestion to dismiss Donoso as GM but was unable to get a response from him as of press time.

Rama appointed three new board members last Oct. 31--Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos, to replace Daluz, Pato and Seno, who were appointees of the late mayor Edgardo Labella.

Rama had terminated the services of the three last August, and had grown tired of waiting for the LWUA to issue a certificate of no objection to their termination.

Rama fired the three, citing the petition for their removal by the MCWD Employees Union and its executive board submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas over the deteriorating income of MCWD and their failure to meet the water needs of the utility’s customers, as well as the Feb. 27 opinion of Government Corporate Counsel Rogelio Quevedo that the MCWD board’s approval of three bulk water supply projects in Mactan Island violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

But Daluz said the real reason they were being forced out was their opposition to MCWD’s proposed privatization by a firm owned by billionaire Manuel Villar Jr., which he said Rama was promoting.

Rama denied MCWD will be privatized.

For the trio’s removal, City Hall cited a recent Regional Trial Court ruling that the local government unit has the power to appoint as well as to remove members of the MCWD board.

Another set of claimants to the MCWD board seats are those whom the Labella appointees replaced in 2019--Ralph Sevilla, Augustus Pe Jr. and Cecilia Adlawan, appointees of then mayor Tomas Osmeña.

EDGAR DONOSO, Metropolitan Cebu Water District general manager, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, said he would abide by the decisions of the board of directors who appointed him, meaning the board led by Jose Daluz III. Daluz, along with two other board members, have refused to vacate their seats despite their replacement with other appointees last month by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
Cebu City Government asserts power to remove MCWD board members
EDGAR DONOSO, Metropolitan Cebu Water District general manager, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, said he would abide by the decisions of the board of directors who appointed him, meaning the board led by Jose Daluz III. Daluz, along with two other board members, have refused to vacate their seats despite their replacement with other appointees last month by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
Kinsay tuohan, Rama o LWUA?

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