Palace: Duterte ‘serious’ in review of gov’t contracts
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is “serious” in wanting a review of all contracts the government entered into to remove any onerous provision detrimental to public interest, Malacañang said Thursday.
“The President is serious as the sun rises on the east. Ganon siya kaseryoso,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview over dzMM.
During Monday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, Duterte ordered all contracts with private firms and/or foreign governments reviewed after he found a disadvantageous provision in the contract between the government and water concessionaire Maynilad.
The provision, according to Panelo, drew the ire of the President for supposedly barring the government from interfering in the terms of the contract.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, argued that contracts found to have provisions violative of the Constitution might be rescinded or amended with both parties.
Earlier, some lawmakers expressed caution against rescinding contracts found to be onerous.
Opposition Senator Franklin Drilon pointed out that existing and binding contracts “cannot simply be classified as onerous and unilaterally canceled” as there is a procedure outlined in the contract.
Canceling these contracts would constitute a breach of the government’s obligations, Drilon warned.
He also said that the review of contracts “must not be used to harass” and should be brought to the Ombudsman if proven violative of the anti-graft law.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian backed Drilon’s claim, saying that the review should not be meant to rescind contracts as it could tarnish the reputation of the country in attracting potential investors.
Panelo said Duterte specifically ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to review the Maynilad contract and possibly prosecute those behind the disadvantageous provisions. /cbb
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