A member of the Board of Directors of the Bacolod City Water District said she hopes that Mayor Monico Puentevella is not questioning their qualifications as BACIWA directors, just because they were appointed by his political nemesis, former Mayor and now Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia.
Marichi Ramos said she has received a copy of Puentevella’s letter to Local Water Utilities Administration chairman Rene Villa dated August 16, questioning her credentials and those of Lorendo Dilag as members of the BACIWA Board of Directors.
In her letter to Puentevella, Ramos said that she has never personally questioned his qualifications or his moral fitness to be Mayor of Bacolod City because of the pendency of criminal cases against him
She cited the plunder case filed by the Philippine Sports Commission against Puentevella before the Ombudsman for non-liquidation of the use of P50.5 million in public funds which he had deposited to his personal account at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and disbursed without proper supporting documents.
“I am also aware that you are facing charges for malversation of public funds in connection with the alleged fertilizer scam masterminded allegedly by former Agriculture Secretary Jocjoc Bolante,” Ramos said.
Because, under the Constitution, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, these criminal cases do not constitute a disqualification for holding public office unless one is convicted by final judgment, she said.
“As such I am surprised to note that you are now questioning my qualifications as Director of BACIWA, because of the pending cases against me, most of which have already been settled,” Ramos said.
Ramos said “What is more upsetting are your insinuations about my moral character because of these pending cases. Is your moral character also compromised because you were charged with alleged plunder and malversation of more than P50 million in public funds?” she asked.
In response to the charges of the mayor regarding her qualification, Ramos quoted the letter of LWUA acting administrator Eduardo Santos date February 22, that stated “On the existence of pending cases against Ramos, an indictment or formal charge is not construed as an evidence of guilt….Hence, the existence of pending cases may not be a hindrance to the confirmation of her appointment.”
Ramos, meanwhile, said her advocacy in BACIWA is 24/7 availability of potable water to the people, the staggering 47 percent systems loss or non revenue water which translates into loss of income for BACIWA since 2003 in the estimated sum of P2.2 billion, and the P560 million LWUA funded waster system improvement project.
As chairman of BACIWA’s Finance Committee, she is compelling the BACIWA management to properly account for P241 million in declared BACIWA retained earnings, she said.
Ramos said she trusts that Puentevella will assist them in their advocacy to deliver 24/7 potable water to the people of Bacolod, instead of questioning their credentials.* CGS