Duterte to Drilon: Did you craft ‘onerous’ contracts with water firms?
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday asked opposition Sen. Franklin Drilon if he was among those who “crafted” the “onerous” concession agreements signed in 1997 between the government and Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Services.
Speaking at the oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang, Duterte recalled how Drilon cautioned the government against “tinkering” with the contracts “because we will end up paying so many billions of pesos.”
“Senator Drilon, are you one of those who crafted that? I’m asking you,” Duterte said.
“I said I’m ready to get out. I’m not threatening you, but if I go down, I will drag you with me,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino.
Earlier this year, Duterte ordered a review of all government contracts after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore ordered the Philippine government to pay Maynilad about P3.6 billion for losses and damages and, recently, P7.4 billion to Manila Water after it supposedly interfered in rate-setting.
Drilon has warned that, while he was in favor of the review of all contracts, “existing and binding contracts cannot simply be classified as onerous and canceled.”
The President has also warned to charge water concessionaires of economic sabotage over the “onerous” contracts.
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