Duterte hits water firms, Catholic Church anew
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday again lambasted two water concessionaires and vowed to reveal the names of the state lawyers who allegedly crafted the “onerous” 1997 water concession deal that he wants replaced.
“The lawyers of government, everybody is trying to be minimalist, they are trying to explain their role as minimal. But I said, even if we renew the contract or not, the people should know (who they are),” the President said during the celebration of the Baptist Church’s 120th year in the country.
“I will reveal who they are so you can ask them, including Ayala and Pangilinan: Why did you do this to us? …Give me an answer, or else, son of a bitch, I will shoot your balls!” Mr. Duterte said, referring to the top executives of water concessionaires Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services.
Earlier this month, the President said the government was crafting a new contract to replace the old agreement, and said he would nationalize the water distribution system and file charges of economic sabotage, economic plunder and syndicated estafa against the two firms should they refuse to accept it.
The government said the provisions preventing state interference in setting water rates, requiring government to compensate the water firms for losses and passing on corporate taxes to consumers were “onerous.”
The President has vowed not to pay a single cent to the water firms, who have since dropped the P10-billion compensation claims awarded them by a Singapore arbitration court.
Mr. Duterte said the two water firms are now having “sleepless nights” over the water mess and that “you could hardly hear a (whimper) out of them.”
The President also pointed to Harry Roque, his former presidential spokesperson, who was sitting in the audience and said that Roque would be one of the lawyers that the water concessionaires would be facing in court once the charges were filed.
But Roque said he had “no idea” when asked if he would be taking on a new government post as mentioned by the President.Mr. Duterte also blamed Maynilad and Manila Water for the sorry state of the polluted Manila Bay, saying it could not be improved because the two firms did not establish wastewater treatment facilities.
The President also hit the Catholic Church, recalling how he cursed Pope Francis when the 2015 papal visit got him stuck in traffic.
Mr. Duterte, who had repeatedly accused the clergy of having molested him as a young boy, told his audience of Baptist church members that the way to “win the war” against the Catholic Church was to curse them.
“It’s good to bullshit the bishops. It might make you win. Take it from my experience,” the President said.
“They’re no longer complaining even if I say ‘bullshit.’ All you have to say is ‘you son of a bitch,’ and you’ll win.”
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