Axed Cebu water execs to push through with case vs Labella

Ryan Macasero

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Axed Cebu water execs to push through with case vs Labella
While the Metro Cebu Water District withdrew as a complainant against Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella, the 3 executives fired remain plaintiffs

MANILA, Philippines – Board members of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) who were fired in October will push through with a case they filed that same month against Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella.

The 3 executives involved in the suit involve Ralph Sevilla, Augustus Pe Jr. and Cecilia Adlawan. 

“MCWD Directors Sevilla, Pe, and Adlawan are pursuing the case they filed against Mayor Labella. The case continues,” Amando Ligutan, the board members legal counsel said in a text message.

The statement clarified the case would continue, even as individuals, in response to an announcement of Cebu City Attorney Rey Gealon on Monday, December 16, saying the MCWD filed a “notice to withdraw” as plaintiff. 

Gealon later clarified the MCWD as an entity dropped itself as a complainant, but Sevilla, Pe and Adlawan are continuing their case as individuals.

The 3 executives are asking the court for a temporary restraining order on Labella’s order relieving them of their posts, and a preliminary injunction against the Local Water Utility Administration (LWUA), which is acting as the MCWD’s board in the interim.

The complaint said the Labella “maliciously and intentionally” violated the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973 when he terminated the board members allegedly without due process.

They were terminated after Labella, who is the appointing authority of the board, was dissatisfied with the performance of the water provider for constant rotating outages in the city.

“The fact remains that Mayor Labella’s termination of the Directors was highly illegal. It won’t pass scrutiny in our courts,” Ligutan said.

Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said last week he welcomed the case filed against him.

“Filing a case is one thing, proving the case is another. I will answer at the proper forum once I shall receive a copy of the complaint,” Labella told reporters last week.

He has yet to appoint permanent board members to the MCWD. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at