DOJ forms team to review gov’t contracts, loans
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formed teams to review all government contracts including the controversial loans with China.
“We have organized teams to conduct this review but my office as attorney general will need a lot of help from the Office of the Solicitor General to perform and complete this task at the soonest possible time,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Tuesday.
He said the subjects of review include the concession agreements on public utilities and foreign loan contracts.
“Priority contracts for review include concession agreements on public utilities and foreign loan contracts. Target provisions are those perceived to be onerous, one-sided, disadvantageous to the government, and or contrary to public order or public policy,” Guevarra said.
He said the first step is to review and renegotiate jointly, and if this is unsuccessful, the government may resort to legal action for rescission.
“Contracts are subject to the will of the parties, but any stipulation, term or condition that is contrary to law, morals, public order or public policy may be abrogated or terminated,” Guevarra explained.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the DOJ and Solicitor General Jose Calida to check and review all contracts entered into by the government and remove onerous provisions that might be detrimental to the country.
The Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has raised the alarm in the controversial loan deals entered into with China. He said the country’s patrimonial assets are being used as collateral in the China-funded Kaliwa Dam Project and the Chico River Irrigation Pump Project.
Carpio warned that Beijing could seize the gas and oil reserves in Reed Bank if the country is unable to pay its loan for the Chico River Pump Irrigation project.
He cited a provision in the loan agreement wherein Manila waived its immunity to its patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use. /ee
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