By Genalyn Kabiling
In an expletive-laden tirade, President Duterte has threatened to arrest and file economic sabotage charges against persons involved in the alleged onerous government contracts with two water concessionaires.
The President expressed outrage over the provisions in the 1997 water concession agreements with Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water that are allegedly disadvantageous to the government, saying he was “ready to go down” fighting and make their lives “very miserable.”
“Bakit pumayag ang mga senador diyan? Marami ‘yan sila eh. And we will expose them. And I will insist that they be tried for economic sabotage. ‘Pag hindi nila tanggapin ‘yang kaso na ‘yan. Now is the time that we talk seriously, na bilihan ng kaso,” he said during the signing of two laws in Malacañang Tuesday night.
(Why did the senators agree to that? They are many and we will expose them and I will insist that they be tried for economic sabotage. If they don’t want to accept the case, I will tell the Supreme Court, now is the time that we talk seriously about bribery.)
“Ito ifa-file ko ‘to. Economic sabotage and I will arrest them lahat silang mga… Patikim ko sila paano ang buhay ng preso (I will file cases of economic sabotage and I will arrest all of them. I will give them a taste of a life in jail),” he added.
Duterte made the latest threat after questioning government agency Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s (MWSS) concession agreements with the two private water firms that prohibited government interference in rate-setting. The agreements also reportedly contained a provision for indemnity in case of such government interference.
An arbitration court in Singapore recently asked the Philippine government to pay Maynilad P3.6 billion and Manila Water P7.4 billion over losses due to the disapproved rate increase. The water issue was tackled in the President’s meeting with the Cabinet last Monday night.
Duterte said the two companies are supposed to serve only as water distributors but were treating the government as if they were “mining gold or diamond.” He criticized the “oligarchs” for making water a commodity instead of a precious natural resource.
“Ang kontrata napaka-tagilid na tagilid (The contracts are one-sided) because if they fail to realize the profit enduring the lifetime of the contract or at any period, babayad tayo sa nalugi nila (we will pay if they suffer losses). Anak ng… P***** i** naman ninyo kung ganun (expletive),” he said.
At one point, the President named the Ayala family of Manila Water and Manny Pangilinan of Maynilad in his rage-filled rant on the controversial water deals.
Duterte said he would fight those who are “screwing” the government and the people.
“I am sorry. I said I’m ready to go. Pero pagka ganito (But if it’s going to be like this) I will — I will not go without a bang. I-expose ko talaga ‘yung mga mayaman na nakikinabang sa bayan na libre (I will expose the rich who benefit from the country for free),” he said.
“We are being milked by billions and pinapabayad pa tayo ng mga (and on top of that we are made to pay) fines and penalties,” he said.
The President said he has asked Solicitor General Jose Calida to craft a new water contract that will be “favorable to public, to government.”
“Ibigay mo sa kanila (Give it to them). This is the amended contract. Accept it or nothing to it,” he said. “Pero itong — hahabulin ko talaga sila (I will run after them) for economic sabotage,” he added.
A furious Duterte also threatened to slap the water officials over their alleged failure to establish wastewater treatment facilities as ordered by the law.
“They’ve been collecting for years to treat the water before it flows to the Manila Bay. Matagal na ‘yan (It has been going on a long time). Anak ka ng p***** i** niya (expletive). Walang water treatment, mga animal kayo (There is still no water treatment, you animals),” he said.
“Tag-isang sampal kayo sa akin. Maniwala kayo. Patikim ko sa inyo. Pakita ko sa Pilipino paano mag-sampal ng mga milyonaryo, bilyonaryo (You get a slap each from me. Believe me. I will give you a taste. I will show Filipinos how to slap millionaires, billionaires),” he added.
He also accused the Ayalas of not paying their corporate income tax. He even asked his aide to look for the Ayalas so he could go to them.
“Hanapin mo nga si Ayala kung saan. (Find these Ayala people.) Puntahan ko (I will go there). They do not pay corporate income tax,” he said.