MCWD board won’t be affected by 2022 polls unless Osmena wins

·3 min read

THE current board of directors of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will not be affected once a new administration assumes office after the 2022 elections, unless it would be former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña who wins.

This was what MCWD chairman of Board Jose Daluz III said in an interview recently.

“I don’t know, that’s what I feel from mayor Tom Osmeña, nga kusog gyud sya nga mogukod (that he will run after us) and he doesn’t like us sitting there og siya ang mudaog (if he wins),” said Daluz.

“I know that and he can confirm that,” he told reporters.

Osmeña, in a text message sent to SunStar Cebu, confirmed that he will run after the current board of directors. “Yes, if the existing board was illegally installed,” he said.

“There is, however, an ongoing court case that Labella did not have the authority to fire the old MCWD board,” Osmeña said.

Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella dismissed the previous set of MCWD board of directors in October 2019, following dissatisfaction by customers of the water utility firm’s services.

Labella fired MCWD previous chairman Joel Mari Yu; former Cebu City Councilors Procopio Fernandez and Augustus Pe Jr.; former city attorney Ralph Sevilla and lawyer Cecile Adlawan, who served as board secretary.

After Labella issued the termination order, Yu stepped down as chairman on Oct. 21.

In November 2019, Pe, Sevilla and Adlawan filed a case against Labella and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) for dismissing them from the board.

Daluz, as well as other directors, lawyer and SunStar Cebu columnist Francisco Malilong Jr. and Miguelito Pato assumed their terms in February 2020.

Osmeña said he heard that during the last hearing concerning the MCWD issue, the current board presented a witness, a lawyer of the LWUA, who said Labella did not have the authority to fire the set of directors in 2019.

This was confirmed by the legal counsel of Osmeña, lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, who was also handling the case of the dismissed three directors.

“The lawyer of LWUA himself said that Labella did not have authority to terminate, and there was no due process,” said Ligutan.

Ligutan said this happened during the hearing on Friday, June 11, 2021.

Daluz did not directly confirm the statement of Osmeña and Ligutan, but said the act of the mayor in terminating the previous board of directors was an initial act and “indispensable means” as part of the process for the LWUA to confirm and finally terminate the board.

“The act of the mayor and the LWUA must be present for the whole process to be accomplished. One cannot be without the other,” said Daluz.

As for his political plans, Osmeña, in previous interviews, has not yet confirmed if he would run in the May 2022 elections, but he said, “anything is possible.”

Daluz, for his part, said he would not run for public office and that his focus now is to solve the water problem in Metro Cebu.

Daluz, who also sits as the president of Partido Panaghiusa, said his party already has a prospective line-up for the May 2022 elections but Panaghiusa members still have to meet with members of Partido Barug and Partido Kusog for their final list of candidates.

Daluz left the ruling administration bloc Partido Barug in March 2021 to revive Partido Panaghiusa, the political party espoused by his mother, the late Inday Nita Cortes-Daluz.

He said the three political parties, which will coalesce for the 2022 elections, adopted a process in selecting their final candidates in the past elections and the same process will be done for the 2022 elections. (JJL)

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