Complaint lodged vs Iloilo mayor for water district dispute

Published July 20, 2018, 10:53 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City— Mayor Jose Espinosa III of Iloilo City is facing criminal and administrative complaints for appointing another set of Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) board of directors.

Atty. Roy Villa, MIWD corporate legal counsel, said complaints were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

This pertains to Espinosa’s decision to appoint five new directors for MIWD last month despite an existing board of directors appointed by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., who was authorized by the Regional Trial Court (RTC-Branch 24) in 2013.

Espinosa earlier questioned the RTC decision and cited a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that declared unconstitutional Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 198, which previously gave authority to provincial governor when a water district subscribers fall below 75 percent.

Espinosa is accused of usurping official function and violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Villa noted that the appointment made by Espinosa did not follow the process as stipulated in Presidential Decree No. 198.

Espinosa is also facing administrative complaints including grave abuse of authority, gross negligence, gross misconduct, and acts contrary to law.

Espinosa appointed Felicitu H. Tiu for the business sector, Dr. Ronald Lacson Sebastian for the education sector; Dr. Rebecca L. Maravilla for the women’s sector; Dr. Ray L. Celis for the civic sector, and Antonio C. Sangrador for the professional sector.

Appointed by Defensor, MIWD board of directors Dr. Ted Robles, Atty. Juanito Acanto, Dr. Jessica Salas, Josephine Abad-Caram, and Ramon Cua-Locsin. They are still serving their terms.