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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, October 26, 2013
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LWUA:  Order vs.
Ramos executory
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

As far as the Local Water Utilities Administration is concerned,its order on October 14 denying the confirmation of the appointment of Marichi Ramos as representative the Professional Sector of the Bacolod City Water District is executory, LWUA Corporate Legal Counsel Arnaldo Espinas said yesterday.

The LWUA, through an officer-in-charge, Manuel Yoingco, denied the confirmation of Ramos’ appointment on the ground of “material misrepresentation” with respect to her claim as a professional, and the alleged string of pending cases against her which was taken as a gauge of her moral fitness to be in public service.

It enjoined the Board to solicit nominations from the proper sector for her replacement.

Ramos filed a petition with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction against Yoingco, Office of the Acting LWUA acting administrator Eduardo Santos and BACIWA general manager Juliana Carbon, to prevent them from implementing the letter of Yoingco.

The petition was filed Monday before Judge Franklin Demonteverde of the Regional Trial Court Branch 44.

Espinas, who represented Yoingco and Santos, said LWUA has already done its job by issuing theorder and it is now up to the BACIWA Board, especially the Secretary, to solicit nominations from the professional sector. LWUA does not implement. “So it depends upon the water district to implement the order," he said.

Espinas cited that the Letter of Instruction 744 was their basis to review appointments to the Board of Directors of water districts. It also authorizes LWUA to initiate changes if the appointments made by the appointing authority, either the Mayor or the Governor, do not truly represent the sector.

So there is no other agency of the government at the national level that will look or review the appointments of about 500 water districts all over the country, Espinas said.

LOI 744 is the source of authority for LWUA to review appointments, he said.

As far as the LWUA directive is concerned, Ramos is not qualified, therefore a directive was issued to BACIWA through the Board to do the process of solicitation, nomination and the submission of the list of nominees to the
appointing authority, or the City Mayor, Espinas said.

Asked about the status of the appointment of Ramos, Espinas said “Let us see how the Court will rule on the petition especially whether or not it will grant the TRO as requested or prayed for by the petitioners.”

Roger Reyes, counsel of Ramos, said LOI 744 is not a law. In case LWUA does not find the Board satisfactory or not properly represented, they have the right to “initiate changes,” based on PD 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973. There is nothing in the law that said they have the right to confirm or remove, he said.

The Civil Service Commission is emphatic in its decision that LWUA under PD 198 has no right to confirm or remove, Reyes said. He also cited Section 11 of PD 198, which states that directors of water districts “can only be removed for cause.” The power to appoint is vested with the Mayor and no power to remove was granted to LWUA, he said.

Reyes said Ramos is qualified to sit as Board of Director of BACIWA representing the professional sector under Section 8 of PD 198.

During the hearing of the petition, Reyes pointed out that the LWUA has no legal authority or power whatsoever to remove directors of water districts.

Meanwhile, Reyes said he hopes the advisers of Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella would give him sound advice, in reaction to the pronouncement of the Mayor that Ramos is found ineligible so they have to change her and that he expects to receive the nominations for her replacement on November 15.

“Puentevella is not familiar with the law. I hope his advisers will advise him on the matter,” Reyes said.

He also said Puentevella is not the one who can remove Ramos because she was appointed by former Mayor and now Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia. If he wants to remove Ramos, he should just follow the law by filing a complaint, and this will be answered by Ramos, and later heard by the Board of Directors that will decide on the matter.

The Court has until next week to resolve the application, Reyes added.*CGS.

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