The CLO filed the motion to dismiss based on the ground of lack of cause of action, said Rey Gealon, city legal officer. It was filed on Thursday before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.
Edgardo Labella/Facebook Photo
Dismissal of case vs Labella sought
Alicia Chua (The Freeman) - December 28, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office (CLO) has sought for the dismissal of the case filed by former Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MWCD) board of directors against Mayor Edgardo Labella.

The CLO filed the motion to dismiss based on the ground of lack of cause of action, said Rey Gealon, city legal officer. It was filed on Thursday before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.

“The plaintiffs have no cause of action against Mayor Edgardo Labella because their complaint was prematurely filed before the Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA) could review the termination order,” the motion read.

Ralph Sevilla (board vice chairman), Cecilia Adlawan (secretary), and Augustus Pe (member) filed a case to nullify both the notice of termination issued against them by Labella and the decision of LWUA to appoint an interim board.

They also petitioned the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to the orders issued by Labella and LWUA, and to order Labella and the LWUA officials to pay P1 million in moral damages.

The case was filed before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City on November 8, 2019.

The board, in the complaint, said Labella “maliciously and intentionally” violated various sections of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973) for terminating the board of directors composed of Joel Mari Yu (chairman), Sevilla, Adlawan, Procopio Fernandez (member) and Pe on October 15, 2019.

Labella reportedly terminated the complainants owing to MCWD’s inefficient service.

Also, the board said the LWUA overstepped its function by designating an interim board instead of strengthening the independence and autonomy of MCWD as a local water utility.

Gealon said the city is anticipating the dismissal of the case as it was filed before the regular court, instead before LWUA, which has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.

Citing Section 11 of Presidential Decree 198 or the Local Water District Law as amended by Section 5 of Presidential Decree 768, Gealon said, LWUA has the jurisdiction to review and approve the removal of directors of local water districts.

Gealon said it was exactly the reason why the court ordered them to amend their complaint being merely a personal redress of grievance.

“For if they insist on their claim to remain as board members, despite the explicit affirmation of LWUA of the Mayor’s Termination Order against them, then the court ought to dismiss this case,” said Gealon.

Recently, the MCWD withdrew the civil case seeking to nullify the termination order issued by Labella against the MCWD board.

But the case pushes through because it was only MCWD, as an entity, withdrawing the case not the complainants, said Gealon. (FREEMAN)

EDGARDO LABELLA
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