The Court of Appeals 19th Division dismissed the petition for quo warranto filed by Ramiro Garcia ousting and excluding Marichi Ramos from the position of Bacolod City Water District board member representing the professional sector, and declaring him as member of the Baciwa Board instead.
The court also issued a stern warning against Garcia and his counsel that any future violation of the rule on forum shopping will be resolved more strictly.
In its decision promulgated Oct. 10, 2018,the Court reversed and set aside the Dec. 1, 2014 and March 2, 2015 orders of the Regional Trial Court Branch 46 ousting Ramos from the Baciwa Board after granting her appeal.
It said the root of the controversy is the letter order of the Local Water Utilities Administration dated Oct. 14, 2013, which was the basis of the removal of Ramos from her position as member of the Board of Baciwa through the Oct. 17, 2013 letter-order of former mayor Monico Puentevella.
When the position became vacant, Puentevella ordered the appointment of Garcia as a member of the Baciwa Board through a letter-order dated Nov. 19, 2013.
Ramos had already brought the question of the validity of the LWUA letter-order before the court when she filed a petition for its nullification on Oct. 21, 2013, docketed as Civil Case No. 13-14241. The petition was amended on Nov. 7, 2013 impleading Garcia as one of the respondents.
This petition for nullification and its subsequent amendment, was already pending by the time Garcia filed the quo warranto petition on Aug. 21, 2014.
The CA said that a comparison of Garcia’s petition for quo warranto vis-a-vis Ramos petition for nullity shows that all the elements of litispendentia (a pending suit) occurs.
In the petition for nullification, Ramos is fighting to keep her position, while in the quo warranto petition, Garcia is letting the court determine who among the two of them has the better right to the same position.
Ramos was appointed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Dec. 14, 2012 as a member of the Board representing the professional sector. Her appointment took effect on Jan. 1, 2013 and her term of office is for six years.
However, her appointment was denied by LWUA 10 months later.*
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