Duterte to fight Salim-Consunji, Ayala in court over P11B compensation for water losses

The Duterte administration is prepared to slug it out in court if Salim-Consunji of Maynilad and Ayalas of Manila Water insists on collecting P11 billion in compensation from the government.

“If they don’t agree then we go to court. We have to go to court,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“There are various options, OSG (Office of Solicitor the General) is thinking of appealing this arbitral ruling to the Singapore high court or when this decision is enforced in Philippine courts, then the Philippine government will surely oppose it on the ground that the arbitral ruling is against public policy,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is adamant that he would not pay the P11 billion awarded by a Singapore arbitration court to Salim-Consunji and Ayala because this was based on onerous and illegal provisions in the 1997 water concession agreement drafted by ACCRALaw.

Salim-Consunji and Ayala earned a combined P120 billion or P12 billion a year from 2009 to 2018.

“May decision na but it doesn’t mean it can be enforced at any given time because the Philippine government is ready to oppose any enforcement of the arbitral ruling,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra said that government abogados hope to draft a revised water concession agreement before the end of the year to replace the deal of Salim-Consuji and Ayalas.

“If the parties would be able to sit down together and discuss a new concession agreement, at least maybe major amendments, then probably the matter of attending to the decision of the arbitral tribunal would get in more easily,” said Guevarra.

“Ang mas mahalaga kasi is not how to deal with their decision but what is more important is how we deal with the concession agreement itself,” he added.

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