MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will pursue syndicated estafa or fraud charges against the Philippine capital's 2 water distributors over alleged "onerous" concession contracts with government, Malacañang said Thursday.
Duterte will be "reneging from his duty" as "chief enforcer of laws" if he does not make good of his threat to file charges against Manila Water Co and Maynilad Water Services Inc, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
"Pag sinabi ni Presidente, tutuluyan niya iyan," Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
(If the President says it, he would do it)
During a visit to quake victims last Dec. 30, Duterte threatened to have owners of the water distribution companies arrested as he accused them of swindling.
"Kita mo, maski anong insulto ko hindi... hindi na sumasagot. Sigurado, swak sila. Syndicated estafa."
(You see despite how I insult them, they don't... don't answer back anymore. For sure, they fit. Syndicated estafa.)
The contracts of the 2 firms violate the country's anti-graft laws, Duterte said, and thus were "null and void" from the start.
Manila Water is part of the Ayala group of companies, while Maynilad is jointly owned by DMCI Holdings Inc and Metro Pacific Investments Corp headed by businessman Manny Pangilinan.
Panelo said the concessionaires’ contracts with the government could be used as evidence against them.