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Locsin wants lawyers in gov’t deal with water firms disbarred, prosecuted

/ 04:17 PM December 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers involved in the crafting of the alleged “onerous” contracts between the government and water firms should be disbarred and prosecuted, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

“My suggestion is the disbarment of all native lawyers on both sides and their prosecution for bargaining away the Philippine state’s sovereign function of regulation,” Locsin, a lawyer, said over Twitter on Friday.

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“Especially the government side musta been paid a fortune. Under the table. Happened in FVR and GMA times,” he said.

The Cabinet official was referring to the previous administrations of Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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The foreign affairs chief’s tweet came after President Rodrigo Duterte said the government will not pay P7.39-billion compensation to Manila Water Co. as ordered by a recent decision of the Singapore arbitration court.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore had ordered the Philippine government to pay Manila Water P7.39 billion to compensate it for losses suffered between June 2015 to November 2019 for the non-implementation of water rate hikes.

Last year, the government was also ordered to pay Maynilad P3.4 billion by the same Singaporean court due to the Philippines’ refusal to allow it to increase prices from 2013 to 2017.

Duterte also criticized Manila Water Company and Maynilad over water deals that were allegedly disadvantageous to the government and the public.

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Maynilad and Manila Water distribute water in Metro Manila and nearby provinces under agreements signed with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) during the Ramos administration in 1997.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), in a Cabinet meeting, reported to the President that it found out that a dozen of supposedly “onerous” provisions were stipulated in the deal.

Manila Water earlier said that they are “more than willing” to work with the current administration to come up with a “workable solution” to address the arbitration decision.

Meanwhile, Maynilad said it is willing to sit down with the government for new water concession contracts.

Edited by MUF
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TAGS: Manila Water, Maynilad, Nation, news, Philippine news update, Teodor Locsin Jr., Water firms
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