Cebu News

Used as political pawn?: Lapid quits as MCWD GM

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
Used as political pawn?: Lapid quits as MCWD GM
Water consumers wait outside the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to transact following the announcement of management that its frontline services will not be available due to a supposed “security breach” yesterday.
Joy Torrejos

CEBU, Philippines — Four days after his appointment last April 12, Atty. John Dx Lapid resigned yesterday as Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) officer-in-charge (OIC) general manager, saying it is “not worth it”.

This developed after he was barred entry into the MCWD building last Monday, when he was about to report to formally assume office after being named acting general manager by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed Interim Board of Directors.

He only gained entry into the building after the Cebu City Government provided assistance, allegedly upon the request of the LWUA.

Yesterday, in an early morning Facebook post, Lapid announced that he resigned from his post, admitting that he was caught in the crossfire between “two camps”.

In an interview with The Freeman, Lapid, however, clarified that he was only resigning as OIC general manager, and is still trying to decide if he would also leave his post as head of the Customer Service Division.

In the meantime, he is taking a leave of absence from MCWD.

Lapid said that the primary reason for his resignation was his family.

“And I am stressed already. Gikapoy na ko, gikapoy na gyud ko. For me, it’s not worth it nga away and naipit ko ba, naipit between parties nga involved ani. And naluoy na ko sa akong asawa with what is all happening right now,” he said.

“Basta pamilya na gani, di na na ma-negotiate,” he added.

He further said that he felt like he was being “used” for political reasons. He, however, declined to name names, and only said that he assessed the situation to have been politicized already.

“Ako man gud gitimbang-timbang ba…mora’g politika na man ni then naa ko sa tunga. ‘Nya di ko ganahan og politika, nanarbaho ra man ko. I was just following orders of LWUA,” Lapid said.

He also said the purpose that he accepted the appointment as OIC general manager was to give LWUA access to MCWD records, which was the primary reason for the LWUA investigation when it did a partial takeover of MCWD management last March 15.

“So, mao ni akong pagtuo nga nagamit na gyud siya. Unya di man gud ko pulitiko nga tawo,” Lapid said.

He, however, said that he is “sure” that he was not being used for personal interests, as he reiterated that it is his position that MCWD should give LWUA access to all of its records to clear out the allegations against the water utility.

Despite this desire, however, he said his family takes precedence.

He also said that when he was barred entry into the MCWD building last Monday, he did not know that Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell himself and other City Hall officers would help him.

He, however, said that he indeed sought police assistance.

As to his earlier statement that he will stand for what is right, Lapid said that it is still his belief that LWUA has jurisdiction over all water districts.

Meanwhile, at around 3 p.m. yesterday, the MCWD Board of Directors (BOC) led by Chairman Joey Daluz III, alongside General Manager Edgar Donoso, were able to enter the MCWD building even after the streets surrounding the edifice were closed and barricaded with yellow fence.

In a statement released to the media, MCWD said it condemns the “brazen actions” of the LWUA interim board, Cebu City Hall, and Lapid for their alleged “atrocious disruption of our services”.

“Their invasion of our offices, the locking of entrances, and the forcible opening of the General Manager's Office represent a flagrant disregard for law and order,” read the statement.

The statement alleged that at 10 p.m. last Monday, Lapid and several others from City Hall allegedly entered the MCWD main building “harassing security personnel and forcibly gaining access to the manager's office”.

“Subsequently, they barricaded and cordoned off our office premises, obstructing access and severely impeding our ability to deliver essential services,” it further said.

In line with this, the MCWD management said it would pursue “appropriate avenues, including legal recourse, to restore normal operations at their main office”.

In a separate advisory addressed to the public, MCWD announced its frontline services would not be available due to an alleged “ongoing security breach” at the main office.

“The invasion of our office has instilled confusion and fear among our employees. We kindly request our consumers to refrain from visiting our office and urge our paying consumers to make use of our collection centers instead,” read the statement.

Because of this, disconnection of delinquent accounts is suspended until further notice.

In an interview, Daluz told reporters that LWUA must reassess its grounds in intervening with MCWD management because the city right now is facing a water crisis.

He said that now that the Daluz-led BOD is back in the MCWD office, its goal is to restore their operations back to normal.

He also said that they would be filing complaints against City Hall and LWUA for allegedly obstructing entry into the MCWD office. — (FREEMAN)

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