MANILA (UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for urging him to be careful in reviewing all government contracts and loan agreements.
He also warned he would suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and order arrests, venting frustration at the pile of problems he is facing.
“I have enough problems with criminality, drugs, rebellion and all pero pag ako ang pinaabot ninyo ng sagad, I will declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and I will arrest all of you," Duterte said in a speech in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
“Pahirapan mo ako, I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term, then pasensiyahan tayo,” he added.
Duterte earlier ordered a review of all government contracts after the arbitration case that water concessionaire Maynilad won against the government caught his attention.
The President said Drilon, who leads the Senate minority bloc, should not tell him what to do.
“Here comes Drilon saying ‘be very careful.' Be careful of what?” he said.
“Why should I be very careful in reviewing contracts that are not to the interest of the people? [There are] onerous and burden[some] provisions there that the people have to honor, so you think that I will allow it? Just because we cannot impair the obligations of our contracts?”
Drilon earlier said while he was in favor of reviewing proposed contracts with China and other bilateral or multilateral international agencies, he warned that “existing and binding contracts cannot simply be classified as onerous and cancelled.”
"The government must avail of the procedure outlined in the contract," Drilon said.
Duterte’s order of a review of all government contracts came after the government was criticized for allegedly entering into lopsided loan agreements with China.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier warned that Beijing could seize natural gas deposits in Reed Bank (Recto Bank) if Manila fails to pay the $62-million Chinese loan for the Chico River Irrigation Loan Agreement.
He then warned that the loan agreement with China for the Kaliwa Dam also offered patrimonial assets as collateral. - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News