Duterte hints big law firm behind onerous water deals
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday hinted that a big law firm could be behind the “onerous” contracts between the government and water concessionaires.
“Lahat violation ng contract but I have to include all the government lawyers who did that. Now, sino yung nagturo sa mga abugado sa gobyerno kasi ngayon yung mga maliliit na lang nagsabi na retired naman kami ganun ganun. But sino nagplano niyan?” Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly elected Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Board of Trustees.
“Ang nagplano nyan malaking opisina na law firm. They are the only ones who could do that. Government lawyers would never attempt even,” Duterte said.
The President declared this as he renewed his threats to jail the people behind water firms Maynilad and Manila Water which supposedly milked billions from the people and the government through the water deals.
Duterte also expressed readiness to talk to new investors, but said he would instead let his economic managers speak to them.
“Of course, may bagong mga negosyante. They will infuse, I do not know for whatever the reason. While I am ready, not me, but yung ano economic managers ko na lang,” Duterte said.
The President also reiterated his call to the public to not let the issue of contracts with water firms slide.
“I refuse to talk to them. Pero if I do not make it to the finish line, kindly remember my words. Huwag niyo bitawan ito kasi dugo ito ng Pilipino,” he said.
Duterte earlier offered the water firms new contracts without the “onerous” provisions, but said he could not guarantee they would not be prosecuted over the original deals.
Should the water firms reject the new contracts, Duterte said he would nationalize the distribution of water services.
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