2 ex-presidents slammed over water deal

January 18, 2020

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte took a dig at two former presidents on whose watch were inked the water concession agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water which he described as the “greatest rip-offs” in the country.

Speaking at the thanksgiving gathering of the Fraternal Order of eagles in Davao City Friday, Duterte resumed his tirades against the two concessionaires and warned anew he would do everything to bring its owner to jail for what they did to the Filipino people.

Duterte also lashed against government lawyers who agreed to the contracts, which he said violated the Constitution and the anti-graft law.

“Kung gusto nyo ng rip-off, may were asking where the big fish . . .sabi ko, dito sa itaas ang pinaka-corrupt – tax exemptions, no collection of taxes . . .  itong mga elitista talaga who choose the country’s leaders, sila ‘yan,” he said.

“I will not (name) names, but just because your mother died, you are qualified to run for president, just because the big business pati yung mga tycoon, sila ang mapili, ito ang kandidato natin, o sige suportahan nyo, bigyan nyo ng pera.  Ganito ang politika ever since, sa Maynila lang ninyo niluluto kung ano ang kapalaran ng Pilipino,” Duterte added.

Duterte has publicly protested a liability clause in the concession agreements with the Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Ayala-led Manila Water Company Inc. that holds the government liable if it interferes with the implementation of water rates and accountable to indemnify the companies for losses incurred.

The government’s contracts with the water concessionaires are set to expire in 2022 after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System canceled the extension of the agreement that was supposed to be until 2037.

Duterte said the government will present new contracts with the concessionaires, which he said, they should take, otherwise, he would nationalize the distribution of water.

Duterte said the deals with the two concessionaires were “null and void” from the time they were signed in 1997 because of violations of the law and the Constitution.

“Ang masakit pa rito, yung mga abugado ng gobyerno, it boggles the mind na itong mga abugado pumayag sa kontrata in violation of the Constitution and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” he said.

“Dito sa kontrata, pagbasa ko pa lang na water will be treated as a common commodity, dun pa lang pumutok na talaga ako. . . . Lahat ng nakalista sa anti-graft law, nandun sa kontrata that’s why my stand is the contract is null and void from the beginning in 1997,” he said.