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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, December 12, 2014
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Ouster decision
not final – Ramos

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Marichi Ramos yesterday said she is still a director of the Bacolod City Water District since the decision of the Court is not yet final and executory.

This was her reaction to the decision of the Regional Trial Court ordering her ouster as member of the Baciwa Board of Directors, representing the professional sector, and declaring Ramiro Garcia Jr. as the duly appointed member.

Garcia had filed a petition for quo warranto against Ramos on August 20 asking the Court to declare her not entitled to sit as member of the Baciwa Board representing the professional sector, ousting her from the position, and to declare him as the person entitled to be a member of the Baciwa Board.

Ramos, however, said she still has a chance to present her evidences, adding that the position of the Court was only based on evidences presented by the legal counsel of Garcia.

“So let us wait until the decision of the Court becomes final and executory,” she said.

Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella said the decision of the Court is a Christmas gift to his office and to the people of Bacolod. He also expects another Christmas gift from the Local Water Utilities Administration within this month.

He said he already installed Garcia as Baciwa director a year ago but this was questioned in another case involving another Court.

The Court pointed out that it is the mayor who can appoint and who can remove, he said. “The Mayor is Monico Puentevella and not Marichi Ramos so why will she not respect the decision of the Court?” He asked.

In October Ramos filed a petition seeking the nullification of the letter-order of LWUA denying her confirmation as representative of the professional sector in Baciwa and sought a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction.

On Oct. 14, the Regional Trial Court Branch 44 issued a writ of preliminary injunction directing respondents, their subordinates and agents/representatives to cease and desist and further refrain from enforcing the letter-order dated 2013 of Manuel Yoingco, officer-in-charge, Office of the Acting Administrator of the Local Water Utilities, in behalf of acting LWUA Administrator Eduardo Santos, denying the confirmation of Ramos as director of the Bacolod City Water District and ordering her replacement/removal pending further orders from the Court.

In his order dated Dec. 1, RTC Judge Estefanio Libutan Jr. of Branch 46, said Ramos is not qualified and is ineligible to be a member of the Baciwa Board representing the professional sector.

The order said Garcia has shown to the Court’s satisfaction that he deserves to be member of the Baciwa Board representing the professional sector.

Garcia said that on Dec. 12, 2013, he was temporarily prevented from discharging the function of his office in Baciwa by reason of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction to which he is not a party defendant.

He said he faithfully and uninterruptedly discharged the function of his office representing the professional sector in the Baciwa Board until Dec. 12, 2013 when Ramos usurped the office.

Puentevella said he thanked the Court for putting a closure on this controversial issue. They can now move forward, improve and strengthen the Baciwa programs, he said.

Meanwhile, Ramos said she is unfazed, and will continue her advocacy to institute reforms and improve the services of Baciwa although she is aware that it will be an uphill battle. She said there are only the three of them, together with chairman Lawrence Villanueva and Lorendo Dilag, against the employees and management of the water district.

Baciwa has an annual budget of about P600 million, which is even bigger than that of some local government units, yet many areas in Bacolod still do not have water, Ramos said. About P53 million of the budget goes to the bonuses and allowances of the employees alone, she said.

Ramos said she has discussed with her legal counsel, Roger Reyes their answer and how they are going to file damages with regards to the mandamus case.

Whatever may happen, she knows how to respect the order of the Court and knows when to step down, she said. But if she is being trampled upon she will fight for her rights, she added.*CGS

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