Bacolod City Water District director Marichi Ramos attended the Board meeting of the water district yesterday after the Regional Trial Court granted a 20-day temporary restraining order prohibiting the implementation of the Oct. 14 order of the Local Water Utilities Administration that denied the confirmation of her appointment as director of BACIWA.
Ramos had filed a petition, with prayer for a TRO, 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.
The petition stated that neither Yoingco nor Santos have authority or legal basis for the denial of her confirmation and for ordering her replacement/removal as director of BACIWA.
Lawrence Villanueva, chairman of the Board, said the TRO has a life span of 20 days, and that gives the parties concerned time to prepare and present their arguments.
He said he conferred with LWUA officials in Manila on Oct. 18 and inquired if the one who signed the letter-order had been authorized by the Board of Trustees and was told that Yoingco was authorized by the LWUA Administrator who was then on official leave, but the order did not have the approval of the LWUA Board of Trustees.
“So, our position is that LWUA does not have the authority to confirm or remove a Board of director, and this was affirmed by a Civil Service Commission ruling,” he said.
Only the Board of the water district has the power to remove a director under Section 6 of Presidential Decree 198, which clearly states that a local government has no jurisdiction control or supervision over a water district, except to appoint, Villanueva said.
With the issuance of the TRO, all the benefits of Ramos should be granted to her. She has all the right to benefits and privileges that a member of the Board of Director deserves, and management should respect it, he said.
Director Lorendo Dilag said that, after the issuance of the TRO, the court will proceed to hear the injunction.
“If Ramos is able to get an injunction, the effect is that, she will continue to occupy her position as member of the Board of Director of Baciwa until the case is finally decided,” he said.
If the injunction is not granted, then the TRO falls on its natural death after 20 days, he added.
Dilag said he believes LWUA has no jurisdiction to dismiss the member of the Board of Director.
“As to the question if all appointments for Board of Directors need confirmation of LWUA, the position of Ramos is in the negative while LWUA is in the affirmative. As to which of the two will prevail, it is up to the court to decide,” Dilag said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Monico Puentevella said BACIWA will submit to him the list of nominees to replace Ramos as representative of the professional sector on Nov. 15. From which he will choose the one he wants to replace her, he said.
Puentevella said LWUA said she is not qualified so he will follow its order.*CGS