Photo from the MWSS Facebook page
MANILA, Philippines – Retired army general Ricardo "Dick" Morales was appointed as a member of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Board of Trustees by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President earlier said he was tapping Morales to be MWSS chairman.
But in his appointment paper dated May 27 and released on Tuesday, June 4, Morales instead took the board seat of MWSS Administrator and Board of Trustees Vice-Chairman Reynaldo Velasco.
Ricardo Morales replaces MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco in the MWSS Board of Trustees. He will serve the rest of Velasco's term, until June 2019. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/EYjLwPaIey — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) June 4, 2019
Morales will be serving the Board of Trustees term of Velasco, which is until June 30, 2019.
Duterte had previously announced he was appointing Morales "MWSS chairman," which logically meant he was replacing MWSS Board of Trustees Chairman Franklin Demonteverde.
However, it seems it is Velasco, and not Demonteverde, who was fired by the President. Velasco is the MWSS Board of Trustees vice-chairman and concurrent administrator.
For Morales to assume the position of chairman or administrator of the water regulatory agency, he first has to be part of the Board of Trustees.
Velasco, a retired police general, was the MWSS official who said Duterte was given the wrong advice on how to address the water shortage issue.
Duterte had issued an order compelling the MWSS and concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services to release water from the Angat Dam by noon on March 15, good for 150 days.
However, Velasco said letting out a 150-day supply or some 600,000 million liters per day was impossible.
Morales had been part of RAM, or Reform the Armed Forces Movement, a group of rebellious military officers who wanted to oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Morales also hails from Duterte's hometown of Davao City.
Duterte had threatened MWSS officials that heads would roll over the water crisis which hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal. He had asked for a report on the shortage due in mid-April. Malacañang had said Duterte would make his decision on the fate of MWSS officials after reading the report. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.