PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte accused rich people of manipulating the water shortage that gripped parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province last month and supporting online news site Rappler.
Duterte, in a speech in Bukidnon last Saturday, fanned speculations that the water supply issue may be artificial.
This came less than a month after regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Metro Manila east zone concessionaire Manila Water took the heat over a series of water service interruptions that affected at least 1.2 million households.
“They didn’t plan on opening it because they were waiting for an increase. Only then will they release the water. That’s true. These rich people, these sons of b**** are milking us dry,” the President said in Cebuano at a campaign rally for administration senatorial candidates.
“The water crisis, that son of a b****. If I didn’t tell them, ‘Open the water dam there. If there’s still no water supply by noon time tomorrow, I will go to Manila and slap all of you.’ The next day there was water. Would you look at that?” he added.
Duterte had earlier ordered the MWSS to demand from the water concessionaires the release of 150 days’ worth of water from Angat Dam in Bulacan to ensure supply to those affected by the water shortage.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco then assured that the MWSS and the concessionaires —Manila Water, Maynilad and Bulacan Bulk Water—will do their best to solve the water shortage in 150 days or around five months.
Duterte also slammed the rich for allegedly supporting Rappler, which ran articles critical of him and his administration.
“They are the ones who finance agencies like Rappler,” he said.
He also criticized Rappler chief Maria Ressa’s face and said investigative journalists were paid hacks.
“They accept clients to attack. ACDC [attack and collect, defend and collect]. You attack to get paid. So don’t believe that they are clean, those sons of b******,” he said.
“Look at their vehicles, their houses. They have been asking money from clients for a long time, especially those big-time writers there. But there are others who refuse to give in. But most of them do,” the President added.
Duterte said: “Ay sus, the women there are in it too. They keep on asking for payment. Especially this one who is sick. They keep on asking for payment.”
Recently, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) published a report showing “big spikes” in his wealth as indicated in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of the President, his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and his son former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte while they were in public office.
Also, the PCIJ zoomed into Sara’s SALN declarations and said the mayor and her husband Mans Carpio never registered their law firm with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The President had lashed out at the reports and claimed that a portion of his assets was inherited from his deceased mother.