The embattled Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) General Manager Rachel Beja. Mindanao Daily News file photo by Gerry Lee Gorit
CAGAYAN de Oro City--Now that she is out, two councilors on Saturday are asking fired Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) General Manager Rachel Beja to come out in the open and be a whistleblower against the alleged irregularities.
Now that Beja is no longer part of the organization, Councilor Reuben Daba said she is now free to speak her mind on the alleged irregularities that she has observed since her apppoinment in 2011.
Daba even welcomed Beja’s termination saying it is a “godsend that would pave the way for the truth to come out.”
For his part, Councilor Teodulfo Lao described Beja as a competent manager. “It should be the directors who fired her who should resign,” added Lao.
Of the five directors in COWD, three signed recommending for Beja’s termination.
“However, to my personal observation the best persons to be fired out and or advise to tender resignation are the members of the board of directors because they are incompetent and their personalities are no expert in water system and management,” Lao told Mindanao Daily News.
Daba and Lao, along with fellow Councilor Enrico Salcedo, have filed a complaint before the Philippine Competition Commission alleging that COWD and its partner(s) maintain a water cartel in Cagayan de Oro City. That complaint is still pending.
On the one hand, Lao described Beja’s expertise plus experiences in water industry management operations as at par.
“In fact, she’d been working hard to make COWD equate the demands of a fast-growing and highly urbanized city. But her power to overhaul the current situation of local water utility is limited and sometimes restraint because of the COWD board who is the policy-making body,” Lao said.
James Judith, the attorney representing the councilors’ complaint before the PCC, also had good words for Beja.
“GM Beja was a very effective, loyal and dutiful manager. She did the board’s bidding and incurred the ire of the public for the district’s sins. She must have said or done something incriminating in the course of the investigation that the board might have not liked. The truth will come out eventually,” Judith said.