A petition seeking the nullification of the letter-order of Local Water Utilities Administration denying her confirmation as representative of the professional sector in the Bacolod City Water District, was filed by Marichi Fong Ramos Monday before the Regional Trial Court.
The petition with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction was filed against Manuel Yoingco, officer-in-charge, Office of the Acting Administrator of the LWUA, acting Administrator Eduardo Santos and Juliana Carbon, general manager of the Bacolod City Water District, to prevent them from implementing the letter of Yoingco denying the confirmation of her appointment, and ordering her replacement/removal pending further orders from the Court.
The petition of Ramos is anchored on the ground that neither Yoingco nor Santos have the authority or legal basis for denial of confirmation and for ordering her replacement/removal as director of BACIWA.
Roger Reyes, counsel for Ramos, yesterday said they will also file a complaint against Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella before the Civil Service Commission for abuse of authority, because the CSC has ruled that he has no right to remove her.
This came after Puentevella ordered the removal of Ramos as representative of the professional sector in the BACIWA Board deriving his alleged right from the letter of LWUA.
Reyes said he believes Puentevella is not aware of the internal conflict in BACIWA.
Ramos was appointed by then mayor and now Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia on January 1 for a 6-year term in the BACIWA Board, as provided in Section 11 of PD 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.
She was elected secretary of the Board of Directors and later appointed chairman of the Finance Committee.
In her petition, Ramos said the letter-order of Puentevella dated Oct. 14 was issued clearly with grave abuse of discretion, and in clear violation of due process without affording her proper notice and hearing of the alleged complaint of the BACIWA Employees Union-NAFLU against her appointment.
Ramos said the letter directive is irreconcilable and in clear violation of the recent decision of the CSC dated April 8, declaring null and void the action of LWUA in the removal of Danilo Encarnacion as director of the Metro Iloilo Water District, on the ground that LWUA has no legal power and authority to remove directors of a water district.
She said she was constrained to resort to judicial relief with prayer for a TRO of at least a 20 days, and a preliminary injunction in as much as Carbon has already declared her position as director vacant and has excluded her from the listing of directors entitled to per diems in attending board meetings.
Carbon, however, denied having declared the seat of Ramos vacant because she has no authority and she is not from LWUA.
She claimed that it is the Secretariat who makes requests on who will receive per diems for attending Board meetings and she has no control over them.
Carbon also said she has not yet received a copy of the petition filed by Ramos.
As chairman of the Finance Committee, Ramos said she had initially questioned the BACIWA management regarding the 47 percent systems losses and, investigated and eventually uncovered anomalies and technicalities in the implementation of a water system improvement project for BACIWA financed by a P537 million loan from LWUA.
She said that, based on PD 198, the LWUA, represented by Yoingco and Santos, is not empowered and authorized by law to remove directors of water districts, but can only remove for cause. Their removal is reviewable only by the LWUA, but it is not vested with the power to remove.
Ramos said she is asking the Court to issue a TRO/preliminary injunction to prevent the respondents, their subordinates, agents/or representatives from enforcing the Oct. 14 letter order denying her confirmation and ordering her replacement as director of BACIWA.*CGS