Duterte open to ‘out-of-court’ deal with water firms, says Palace
MANILA, Philippines — An “out-of-court settlement” is possible between the government and Metro Manila’s water concessionaires, Malacañang said Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night apologized to businessman Manny Pangilinan and the Ayala clan for his harsh words that he said to them during his administration.
In December 2019, Duterte publicly lambasted Manila Water Co., a subsidiary of the Ayala family’s Ayala Corp., and the Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services for supposedly entering into onerous water concession agreements with the government.
He even threatened to have the businessmen behind the firms jailed for economic sabotage.
In an online press briefing, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President’s apology is an “indication” that Duterte is open to sit down with the businessmen and settle the issue without resorting to the courts.
“I think that’s an indication na, kung pwedeng out-of-court settlement, he will explore out-of-court settlement,” Roque said.
“Kumabaga sa ordinaryong kasuhan no, usap muna tayo bago tayo magdemandahan. Siguro yun po ang ibig sabihin ng ating Presidente,” he added.
(In ordinary case, let’s talk first before we file cases. Maybe that’s what the President is saying.)
Duterte also thanked the businessmen for their assistance during the coronavirus lockdown imposed across high-risk areas in the country.
In separate statements, Pangilinan and Ayala welcomed the President’s remark.
On March 11 speech, the President first expressed his willingness to resolve the conflict with the two biggest water concessionaires in the country.
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