Cebu News

Daluz suing City Hall execs over MCWD ‘invasion

Iris Hazel Mascardo - Agence France-Presse

CEBU, Philippines - Following the standoff and Cebu City officials allegedly breaking into the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) office last Monday night, the water district’s Board of Directors (BOD) led by its chairman Atty. Jose “Joey” Daluz, III will be filing criminal and administrative complaints against them before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas on Monday.

On Thursday, Daluz sat down with The Freeman News Editor Fred Languido for the online show “Hot Seat” and tackled, among others, MCWD and the recent controversies that involve the water utility, especially the “invasion” Cebu City officials did four nights ago.

He assured that MCWD operations have gone back to normal after last Tuesday’s lockdown, when officials and employees did not report for work due to the break in the night before.

He said that they are now in the process of preparing the complaints against the Cebu City Hall officials for what they did, as the doors of the MCWD building were “forcibly opened”.

 “Of, course we will be filling a case against City Hall. Grabe to ilang gibuhat, they created chaos, confusion, harassment…. Lawlessness gyud to ilang gibuhat,” he said.



In particular, they would be filing complaints against Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell; Atty. Jerone Castillo, Cebu City Local Finance Committee chief; Cebu City Legal Officer Vincent Carlo Gimena; and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Head Harold Alcontin.

Complaints of “conduct unbecoming of a public official”, violation of ethical standards, and harassment, would be among the complaints that Daluz said would be filed.

Rosell, Castillo, Gimena, and Alcontin were among those who assisted Atty. John Dx Lapid in entering the MCWD building last Monday, April 15, after security guards initially barred him from going in.

The MCWD Interim Board named Lapid as acting general manager last April 12, after suspending Edgar Donoso for 90 days.

 Lapid, however, resigned as acting general manager a day after, citing the stress he and family had gone through.

When asked if they would also file charges against Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Daluz said they are going to study the matter because the mayor allegedly denied taking part in the City Hall intervention.

“And I think we can use that interview ni mayor nga wa gyud to siyay authority si Collin. So si Collin gyuy madakdakan aning tanan kay nanghinaw na man si Mayor Mike,” he said.

As for Lapid, who previously said that he is on indefinite leave, Daluz said they already issued a “back to work order” to him, essentially ordering him to go back to his original position as Customer Care Division head.

He said Lapid being barred from going inside the MCWD building last Monday was a consensus agreed upon the day before as their way of “fighting back”. He said his board still has sway over MCWD and that they also have the backing of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

He assured that amid the ongoing leadership dispute in MCWD, they are concerned over the lack of water in MCWD’s service area.

Daluz said they already changed the padlocks of the MCWD premises, particularly at the general manager’s office, where there was allegedly an attempt to open the vaults.

He recalled that the very night Rosell and the others gained entry at the MCWD building, a security personnel called to tell that the building was surrounded by City Hall personnel and that a security guard was allegedly “threatened” so he would open the door to the building.

 “Makita man sa video nga gi-force gyud nilag open ang mga offices…. Of course, pagsulod nila, that was already trespassing, without the consent of the MCWD,” Daluz said

 “Naay mga nangakatag nga dokumento…. Naa man sa vault ang mga dokumento. Ang ila lang ang satisfaction nga mura’g sila nay tag-iya sa building, nya gi-install nila si Lapid,” he added.

 Daluz said that with members Jodelyn Mae Seno and Miguelito Pato, the MCWD BOD is still functioning, despite the presence of an Interim Board that the Local Water Utilities Administration installed last March 15 and another BOD led by Melquiades Feliciano, after their appointment by Rama last Oct. 31, 2023.

Daluz said what matters is they are the ones whom the MCWD employees and management recognized.

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