Cebu News

Cease and desist notices sent to Daluz, two others

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The incumbent directors of Metropolitan Cebu Water District formally sent a notice to the ‘removed’ chairman and two members of the board ordering them to “cease and desist” from their duties.

Cease and desist notices were sent to ’former’ chairman Jose Daluz III and board members Miguelito Pato, and Jodelyn May Seno. Separate notices were also sent to the general manager and MCWD secretariat on February 21, 2024.

Lawyers Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita, both current MCWD directors, sent the letters that demand the ‘former officials’ to “cease and desist from performing or causing any action that interferes with the exercise of their duties and prerogatives as members of the MCWD Board.”

A separate letter was also sent to MCWD General Manager Donoso to remind him to confer and seek board approval on future actions.

Ortiz and Bonachita also requested the MCWD secretariat that they and the rest of the MCWD Board, including the supposedly new chairman, Ret. Army general Melquides Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos, be furnished all notices, documents, and effects pertaining to the MCWD Board, as well as those of MCWD itself.

In a Resolution dated August 1, 2023, Daluz, Pato and Seno had been removed from their positions in MCWD by Mayor Michael Rama.

As replacements, Feliciano, Batuhan, and Yuvallos have been appointed.

Subsequently, the new Board convened and conducted meetings, with Ortiz and Bonachita in attendance.

Ortiz and Bonachita later on were made to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken against them for their absences from certain meetings and for conducting “unauthorized meetings” at the MCWD Board Room.

Ortiz and Bonachita explained that those meetings were conducted by an illegitimate board controlled by former directors who have already been removed while also highlighting that they refused to be participants in highly questionable policies and actions including on desalination projects that they feel would put MCWD at the risk of bankruptcy.

Ortiz and Bonachita also tackled Daluz and the rest’s disregard to the alarming and accelerating Non-Revenue Water issues among others.

They categorically stated that their absences should not be interpreted to mean that they were abdicating their duty to represent MCWD’s constituents, and that they should still be kept fully informed of actions of the board, and demand accountability for such actions.

However, Ortiz and Bonachita's letter was met with complete silence and they said they were caught by surprise when they learned, purely from newspaper accounts, that they were allegedly removed from their positions as directors during a meeting conducted on December 21, 2023.

In all these correspondences, Ortiz and Bonachita maintained that they have not vacated nor have been removed from their positions, thus they remain bona fide members of the MCWD Board.

Meanwhile, Daluz shrugged off the demand for him to cease from performing duties as chairman saying they should wait for the LWUA's decision to remove them.

Daluz reaction

In an interview with The Freeman yesterday, Daluz said the MCWD as a whole will not provide copies of board resolutions to the appointed chair Feliciano, and two other appointed board members adding that they weren't recognized by the LWUA.

"As of now I think the MCWD management and the employees are in the right position na until they get a confirmation from LWUA they cannot give that privilege nga ilang gipangayo," said Daluz.

As for the stance made by Ortiz and Bonachita on not attending meetings, Daluz said it was their choice and with this, both Ortiz and Bonachita will no longer have access to what transpired during their meetings.

"Di sila mu recognize namo and gusto sila magpa hatag sa among mga actions sa board? I think mga bright man ning mga tawhana ba," said Daluz.

Further, Daluz said that both Ortiz and Bonachita can "say whatever they want" and added that he doesn't know what legal basis the said lawyers have for their demands.

Aside from this, Daluz also said that the two cannot demand them to "cease and desist from performing as MCWD board" since they weren't accordingly recognized by them as members of the boards.

For now, Daluz said they will not be making any counter motions to the letter.

"Amo nalang sa na silang pasagdan...that's their prerogative. As of now, no need to answer or make any counter action," said Daluz.

"Anyway they will have their time, kung sila na say i-confirm sa LWUA then kami nasay mu out," he added.

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