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Duterte steps up attacks vs water firms, threatens to suspend writ of habeas corpus

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and order arrests the persons involved in the alleged onerous government contracts with two water concessionaires.

In a speech during the oath-taking of newly-appointed uniformed personnel in Malacañang on Tuesday, Duterte continued his tirades against Maynilad Water Services. Inc. and Manila Water Co., Inc., the two private water providers in Metro Manila.

“Kaya hindi ko talaga malaman kung paano ko bibirahin ‘to because I want everybody, ‘yung mga abugado niyan noon, kung ayaw nilang pumunta dito, eh ‘di I will drag them. Then if you will force my hand, I will throw my last card,” the President said.

“Ayaw ninyo? O sige. Gusto ninyo daanin sa… Then I will suspend this writ of habeas corpus at hihilain ko kayo. Widespread economic sabotage. Ayaw ninyong pumunta dito? Gusto ko magharap silang lahat dito sa akin,” he added.

Duterte warned that he will “expropriate” the operation of water facilities if he is not satisfied with their explanation.

“Isa-isahin ko sila. Ang abugado ng mga p***** i** gumawa ng kontrata. Sino ‘yung mga opisyal ng MWSS noon? Tanungin ko sila. What the f*** did you do and screwed the country? Ngayon, ‘pag hindi ako ma-satisfy, I will expropriate everything. Kunin ko lahat,” he said.

An international tribunal ordered the Philippine government to pay Manila Water P7.4 billion in losses for non-implementation of rate hikes in 2015.

In 2017, the government was also ordered to pay Maynilad P3.4 billion for the same reason.

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