Cebu City

Cebu water district heads file complaint vs city officials over ‘trespassing’ incident

John Sitchon

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Cebu water district heads file complaint vs city officials over ‘trespassing’ incident

AUTHORITY. The Metropolitan Cebu Water District Board of Directors led by Lawyer Jose Daluz III filed a complaint against Cebu City officials before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas on Monday, April 29.

John Sitchon/Rappler

Metropolitan Cebu Water District Chairman Jose Daluz III says Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama abused his authority by instructing city officials to enter the MCWD building in an attempt to take over the facilities of the water firm

CEBU, Philippines – The heads of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) sued Cebu City officials for abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and coercion, in connection with their role in the attempted takeover of the water district’s main office.

In a letter addressed to Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Dante Vargas, MCWD Chairman Jose Daluz III and General Manager Edgar Donoso asserted that the city officials violated provisions in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as well as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Weeks ago, the MCWD claimed that lawyer John Dx Lapid, accompanied by city officials, unlawfully entered the MCWD building on the evening of April 15, allegedly harassing MCWD’s security personnel and forcing their way into the general manager’s office. 

The MCWD chairman told reporters on Monday, April 29, that on top of the complaints against the city officials, the Daluz-led board of directors would also file a complaint with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) against Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama for his involvement in the incident.

“We will go to DILG to file [a case with] the Office of the President against the mayor for his actions that he did on April 15. We have videos that show he was on top of it, instructing Attorney Colin and (Police Colonel Ireneo) Dalogdog to go inside and take over MCWD,” Daluz said.

“This is an abuse of authority by the mayor,” he added.

In the complaint, Daluz and Donoso identified Cebu City administrator Collin Rosell, City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo, City Legal Officer Carlo Gimena, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Harold Alcontin, and City Transport Office head Raquel Arce as respondents.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama told Rappler in a phone interview on Monday afternoon, April 29, that he and the city officials will be waiting for a copy of the complaint before issuing a statement on the issue.

On ‘officer-in-charge’

On April 22, the Local Water Utilities Administration appointed lawyer Joselito Baena as interim officer-in-charge (OIC) of MCWD. The move came after LWUA served a suspension order against Donoso on April 12.

Sought for his comment, Daluz insisted that Baena could not hold the OIC title because he is not even connected with the government.

“Before you can be officer-in-charge… you must be an existing employee of the government,” the MCWD chairman said.

Meanwhile, Donoso said that only the incumbent board of directors can appoint the general manager. 

Daluz criticized how Baena didn’t provide the MCWD board with any resolution or letter about his appointment, or proof of his recent inspections in barangays as an officer representing the water district.

“If he can just visit and talk to us about what he can do, then that’s fine. He shouldn’t insist on being the OIC because now that we’ve got normal operations, we shouldn’t let anything disturb that,” the MCWD chairman said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Rappler has reached out to Baena for his comment on the issue but has yet to receive any reply. This article will be updated once a statement has been given. –

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