Finance chief says another gov't deal probed, widening crackdown

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2020 01:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2020 03:50 PM

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. Handout

MANILA -- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Thursday his office was investigating yet another contract that allegedly puts government at a disadvantage, expanding the list of deals under scrutiny.

The company allegedly leased a property of a financial institution and failed to deliver on its commitment to build a structure there. The lease was later renewed at a "very low rate." The financial institution's head later become chairman of the company, he said.

"I'm having my staff go through all the contracts," Dominguez told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines. He declined to elaborate.

The finance chief earlier flagged low rental payments by Chevron Philippines for a Batangas property as "onerous." The government is also looking into state deals with Maynilad Water Services Inc, Manila Water and Ayala Land.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month promised to "correct" all government contracts before his term ends in 2022. 

"You think we in this administration should sit down and say, 'That was the way it was done in the past, we'll go ahead'?" Dominguez said. 

"You forget the basis on why this administration was elected: we said we want them to change and our change is for the better of the ordinary taxpayer."

Philippine bond issues are oversubscribed and interest rates are falling, Dominguez said when asked if scrutiny of state contracts would erode investor confidence.

"That is also investor community, is it not?... What better confidence can you ascribe than that?"

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