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Law firm could be behind crafting of onerous water deals – Duterte

By Genalyn Kabiling

A huge private law firm could be behind the crafting of the alleged onerous water contracts with two Metro Manila concessionaires, President Duterte said Wednesday.

KNG23 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the Annual General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on January 21, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ( KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The President said government lawyers could not have possibly pursued the water contracts alone, adding they probably received help from the law firm.

The controversial water contracts, Duterte insisted, have bargained away the country’s sovereignty and violated the country’s anti-graft law.

“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? (Now who taught the government lawyers because now the small ones claimed they are already retired. But who planned that?) ” Duterte said during the oath-train of the new officers of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in Malacañang on Wednesday.

“Ang nagplano niyan abogado. Ang nagplano malaking opisina na law firm (Lawyers planned that. A big law firm planned that). They are the only ones who could do that. Government lawyers would never attempt even to…ang gusto ko lang malaman bakit ginawa ng mga p*** i*** (that’s why I want to know why this son of a b*tch did that),” he said.

Duterte did not identify the law firm behind the alleged irregular water deals during his speech.

The government is currently drafting contracts with Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. after the President’s public outbursts against the deals.

The President earlier threatened to sue and jail those behind the water contracts that contained disadvantageous provisions. Among the contract terms protested by the President are the prohibition on government interference in rate-setting and the indemnity clause in case of such interference.

The water deals drew the ire of the President after an arbitration court ordered the Philippine government to pay huge compensation to the two companies for damages over a rate dispute. He has refused to pay and instead lashed out at the two companies.

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