Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella has appointed former Bacolod vice mayor Ramiro Garcia to take the place of Marichi Ramos as member of the board of directors of the Bacolod City Water District representing the professional sector “effective immediately.”
In his letter to BACIWA dated Nov. 19, Puentevella said he has the power to appoint Garcia based on Presidential Decree 198, or the Provincial Water Utilities Act.
Garcia's appointment took effect November 18, despite a 20-day temporary restraining order granted by Judge Franklin Demonteverde of the Regional Trial Court Branch 44.
Puentevella said in a text message that he will issue an official statement on the appointment of Garcia today and will also wait for the Local Water Utilities Administration to decide what is best.
Both Ramos and Garcia attended the BACIWA Board meeting yesterday that was adjourned early. The board decided to wait for clarification from the Court on the status of the TRO it had granted Ramos.
The Regional Trial Court granted a 20-day restraining order early this month prohibiting the implementation of the Oct. 14 order of the LWUA that denied the confirmation of the appointment of Ramos as director of BACIWA.
Ramos had filed a petition, with prayer for temporary restraining order, against LWUA officer-in-charge Manuel Yoingco, Office of the Acting LWUA Administrator officer-in-charge Eduardo Santos, and Juliana Carbon, BACIWA general manager, to prevent them from implementing the order of Yoingco for her replacement/removal pending further orders from the Court.
Ramos said she will continue to sit as director of BACIWA and will wait for the Court to decide on her petition for preliminary injunction. She said RTC Branch 44 issued a status quo and an indefinite restraining order pending the resolution of her petition.
She said she believes there is no cause for them to remove her since she is just advocating reforms in BACIWA and wants to make sure there is delivery of potable water to its consumers, she said.
Ramos said she has not included Puentevella in the case because all these will boil down to politics. The issue being resolved in the Court is whether LWUA has the right to remove a board of director or not.
Ramos said the decision of Puentevella to appoint Garcia is illegal and the law is clear that the mayor can only appoint if there is a vacancy in the position and can remove a sitting official if there is cause to remove him/her.
She said her lawyers are now studying the possibility of petitioning the court to cite those behind the appointment of Garcia in contempt.
Ramos said she does not want to include Puentevella in the present impasse between her and some officials of BACIWA, as much as possible, since the problem is not in any way related to politics.
Meanwhile, Garcia said the TRO granted by the Court has expired because the legal counsel of Ramos was not able to submit the so called "MCLE" or a certification of his continuing education as a lawyer.
Garcia said he has no problem as to his qualification to represent the professional sector since he is in fact highly qualified for the post. He added that his father, Ramiro Garcia Sr., was the first chairman of the Board of Baciwa and he feels he has a moral ascendancy to it.
The BACIWA Board is now composed of Ramos, Garcia, Lorendo Dilag, Maida Torre, Cecilia Henares, Yolanda Zaragoza representing LWUA, and Laurence Villanueva as chairman of the Board.*CGS