PAGCOR-Maynilad contract is non-existent, says Aquino

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2010 05:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2010 04:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said there is no midnight deal between Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson and former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chair Efraim Genuino.

"I am at this point in time satisfied with his (Singson's) explanation," Aquino said in a press briefing on Sunday.

The alleged anomalous deal as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) on Sunday, involves Singson, who as then president of the Maynilad Water Services Inc., locking up with then PAGCOR chief Genuino a water concession agreement that would have meant forfeiting  government revenue from water fees.

The PDI  said the deal between  Pagcor and Maynilad involving the 3,877-square-meter Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City in Parañaque City  was among the midnight deals that Genuino was said to have been pushing before he left PAGCOR in June. But the board of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) refused to uphold the deal, and the current Pagcor management has put it on hold pending further investigation.

Aquino said that Singson had explained to him, in a text message, the basic issue surrounding the alleged anomaly.

"Iyong basic thrust of his position is that Genuino as chair of PAGCOR  needed to assure potential locators that it had adequate water, electricity etc, before he could attract investors."

He said Singson and then concurrent chair of the  Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and MWSS Gabby Claudio were tasked to also deal with the issue because the project fell within the Maynilad concession area.

Aquino said he was made to understand  by PAGCOR  that there is no "perfected contract."

"They (Pagcor) are reviewing the whole concept of PAGCOR  City. So as far as they are concerned, this is a non-existing bid."