Ayalas, Pangilinan not yet off the hook, says Palace
Malacañang said the Ayalas and Manuel V. Pangilinan are not yet off the hook despite President Rodrigo Duterte apologizing to them following their huge donations and early payment of taxes.
The Ayalas control Manila Water Company, Inc. while Pangilinan is the chairman of Maynilad Water Services, Inc.
"Even if they help to the tune of 6.5 billion (pesos) and 9 billion (pesos), it does not mean you're off the hook," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
Based on the information he gathered, Roque said the MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan's) Group gave donations in the government's coronavirus response amounting to P6.5 billion on top of the advance taxes and concession fees the company paid or a total of about P20 billion.
The Ayala Group, on the other hand, donated at least P9.5 billion in the COVID-19 response, he said.
"Like what the President said, there is a need to amend the water concession agreement. Those that need to be returned to the public should be returned," Roque said.
Based on earlier review of the Department of Justice, the water concession agreements entered into by the Ramos and Arroyo administrations with the two water companies are onerous and disadvantageous to the government and the public.
Duterte, who earlier threatened to send to jail the businessmen for alleged economic sabotage, said they were collecting additional fees to the consumers even if they failed to put up proper sewerage treatment plants.
"What was eliminated only was the determination to send them to jail because they collect money, environmental fee even if there is no water treatment facility," Roque said. Celerina Monte/DMS