• Workers, anti-graft bloc rally vs. MWSS chief

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    Employees of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and members of a militant anti-corruption group have demanded for the resignation of Administrator Gerardo Esquivel on Monday over the anomalous hiring of 40 consultants over the past two years.

    Demoralized employees of the MWSS Labor Association (MLA) were joined by more than 200 members of the militant group Mamamayan Laban sa Katiwalian (MLK) in calling for Esquivel’s ouster and a revamp in the leadership of the water regulatory agency.

    The lightning rally was staged in front of the MWSS main office in Katipunan, Quezon City.

    MLK spokesman Zeny Guillermo condemned Esquivel’s alleged illegal acts, which she said were not in line with President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s “Daang Matuwid” policy.

    “He should step down from his post immediately for making a mockery of the President’s Daan Na Matuwid policy,” Guillermo said.

    “Why is Mr. Esquivel engaging in such acts? Does he believes that his connections with President Aquino makes him exempt from following government policy against corruption,” she added, noting that Esquivel contributed P10 million to Aquino’s campaign kitty in 2010 presidential post.

    MWSS labor leader Napoleon Quinones assailed the inaction of the Office of the Ombudsman on their case against Esquivel over the questionable hiring of consultants who were paid monthly salaries ranging from P50,000 to P400,000 each.

    Quinones said Esquivel violated Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Act; RA 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines; and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, among others.

    “The complaint letter was received by the Ombudsman on June 1, 2012 but unfortunately we have yet to receive any reply or information on status of the complaint,” Quinones said.

    MLA President Rene Zapiter said Esquivel should voluntarily resign, especially since the graft charges were filed against him by his own people.

    “If he has any delicadeza, he should resign immediately, not only because of the cases we have filed against him, but more importantly, his own employees no longer trust him,” Zapiter said.

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