Challenge accepted: Harry Roque says to handle water concession cases

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2020 02:57 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte and his former spokesperson Harry Roque. File

MANILA - Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Monday that he would handle the government's cases against the Philippine capital’s water distributors.

Roque told ABS-CBN News that he was tapped by President Rodrigo Duterte to work on the cases in his capacity as a private lawyer.

Syndicated estafa or fraud, and graft charges will be filed against Maynilad and Manila Water, Roque said, claiming that the government has "very high" chances of winning.

"Wala kasi talagang bidding and wala talagang [sewage treatment plants] despite their collection of environment fees," he said.

(There was really no bidding and no sewage treatment plants despite their collection of environment fees)

Asked on when he would file the charges, Roque said he has yet to acquire necessary documents from the Department of Justice.

Duterte initially hinted at getting the services of his former spokesperson last week as he insisted that the government would not heed an international court order to pay Maynilad and Manila Water over P10.8 billion as compensation for losses the water concessionaires incurred due to denied rate increases.

“There's no f*cking payment coming their way. And so I began to scrutinize the contract. And Harry is here, he will be one of the lawyers who'd they'd be facing-- maybe in court,” Duterte said in a speech last week.

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.