By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has asked Senator Franklin Drilon to “tell the truth” about the government’s alleged irregular contracts with two water companies or else he might drag him down with him.
The President said Drilon should tell the people if the government deals with Maynilad Services, Inc. and Manila Water were “good for the people.”
Duterte made the remark shortly after threatening to sue and arrest the persons behind the 1997 water concession agreements for economic sabotage.
“I distinctly recall that Drilon said something, ‘Presidente Duterte, do not tinker with that contract because we will end up paying so many billions of pesos.’ Senator Drilon, are you one of those who crafted the contract? I’m asking you,” he said during the oath-taking of new presidential appointees in Malacañang on Tuesday.
“I’m ready to go down. Hindi kita tinatakot. Pero ‘pag bumagsak ako, dadalhin talaga kita. I will — I will… I’m not — I’m not — takot-takot (I’m not trying to scare you but if I go down, I will drag you down. I’m not afraid). I’m not challenging you. Just tell the people the truth. You read the contract aloud and say if it is good for the people,” he added.
After the senator earlier asked him to be careful in reviewing government contracts, Duterte told Drilon not to mess with him.
“Do not f*** with me — takutin mo ako (you’re trying to scare me by saying), billions of pesos. If I go down, you go down. I am ready anytime. I’m ready to be destroyed anytime. But I will also destroy [you] because you destroyed my country,” he said.
The President blew his top over the alleged irregular government contracts with the two water companies and vowed to run after those behind the deals.
He said the contracts are lopsided because they contain provisions preventing the government from interfering with rate adjustments as well as allowing indemnity claims from the government over losses. He also lamented that the contracts categorize water “not as a natural resource but as a commodity.”
“Matagal na ito (This has been going on a long time). Wala lang pumipiyak kasi nga takot sa pera ni Ayala pati ni Pangilinan (No one’s talking because they’re afraid of Ayala and Pangilinan money), especially during the elections. Kailangan mo eh (Because you need it). Kaya walang nagsasalita talaga (That’s why no one talks),” he said.
“But when I saw the contract, sabi ko, p***** i**** ‘to. They are screwing us and they’re screwing us all the way,” he added.
He said the government is “being milked by billions” through the payment of fines and penalties.
“At ang masakit diyan (What’s painful is), we cannot interfere because if we do, they will sue us and they would be awarded millions kasi ang napili nila (because what they chose) is arbitration,” he said.
The President made the latest remarks after 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 discussed in the President’s meeting with the Cabinet last Monday night.
“Arbitration, natalo na tayo (we lost). Three million. Ngayon, there’s come — there’s one coming up. Six million because we interfered. We cannot raise or lower the price of water in this country,” he said.
“If we do that, they will sue us and for interference and they go to — to file the arbitration. Talo talaga tayo (We really lost). Eh puro sila ‘yun eh (It was all them). Kita mo ang kawalang-hiyaan ng tao (See how shameless they are),” he added.