MANILA (UPDATE) —President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would "expropriate everything" from the Philippine capital's two water distributors unless he is satisfied with their explanation of their concession agreements.
The President issued the statement after the heads of Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. told a congressional hearing earlier in the day that they would no longer collect P10.8 billion in compensation from the government that was ordered by a Singapore-based arbitration court.
“Now, 'pag hindi ako ma-satisfy, I will expropriate everything. Kunin ko lahat. Magdemanda ka nang magdemanda tutal dalawang taon na lang, wala na ako,” he said in a speech at the Malacañang Palace on Tuesday.
(If I'm not satisfied, I will expropriate everything. I will get everything. File charges, I only have 2 years left in office anyway.)
Duterte said last week that the country was "milked by billions" due to the compensation orders, which stemmed from denied petitions for rate increases.
The President also bragged that he had an “airtight” case against the water distributors. He earlier threatened to file charges of “economic sabotage” and economic plunder.
“ ’Pag sinabi nila, ‘Mayor, hiritan mo,’ then I will file economic sabotage. My case is airtight. Mismong ’yung contract kung iharap mo sa anti-graft law, it mirrors. It is a mirror of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices law,” he said.
(If they push me then I will file economic sabotage. My case is airtight. The contract mirrors the anti-graft law.)
'WHAT THE F*CK DID YOU DO?'
Duterte on Tuesday summoned officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to the Palace and the lawyers who crafted the 1997 water concession deals.
He warned of suspending the writ of habeas corpus should MWSS officials and lawyers responsible for the agreements fail to heed his order.
“ ’Yung mga abugado noon kung ayaw nilang pumunta rito, I will drag them. Then if you will force my hand, I will throw my last card. Ayaw ninyo? O sige. I will suspend the habeas corpus at hilain kayo. Widespread economic sabotage,” he said.
(I will drag the lawyers who don’t want to come here. Then if you will force my hand, I will throw my last card. You don’t want to come? I will suspend the habeas corpus and drag you. Widespread economic sabotage.)
“Ayaw ninyong pumunta dito? Gusto ko magharap silang lahat dito sa akin. Isa-isahin ko sila, ang abugado ng p*t*ng*n* gumawa ng kontrata. Sino ’yung mga opisyal ng MWSS? Tanungin ko sila, what the f*ck did you do and screwed the country?” he added.
(You don’t want to come here? I want all of them to face me. I will ask each one of the lawyers who crafted the contract. Who are the MWSS officials? I will ask them what the f*ck did you do and screwed the country?)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the government would still ensure the removal of onerous provisions in the water concession agreements even after Maynilad and Manila Water dropped compensation claims.
“The issue of paying the arbitral award is not as important as ensuring that disputes arising from the burdensome provisions of the water concession agreements will never happen again in the future,” Guevarra said.
The government’s concession contracts with the Ayala-led Manila Water and Pangilinan-owned Maynilad were originally signed in 1997 during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos.
While the agreements are valid until 2022, the government already extended it for another 15 years in 2009 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.