Malacañang assured Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan of due process in case warrants of arrest would be issued against them.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador made this clarification after President Rodrigo Duterte, inspired by arrests made by then President Ferdinand Marcos under martial law in 1972, Friday threatened to arrest and indefinitely detain the owners of Metro Manila’s water concessionaires.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said once cases are filed against the water firm owners, it would still be up to the judges in court to issue warrants of arrest against them.
“Ang ibig sabihin, idedemanda ang mga dapat idemanda,” Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ on Sunday. “That is on the assumption that there are warrants of arrest. Lahat ‘yan padadaanin sa proseso.” Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp. owns a controlling stake in Maynilad while Manila Water is a subsidiary of Ayala Corp.
In a speech in Davao City on Friday, Duterte warned the water concessionaire owners against filing temporary restraining orders (TROs) against the government or he just might arrest them “one night”.
“One night, hulihin ko silang lahat. At diyan lang kayo. Kailan ko kayo palabasin? Hanggang gusto ko. Si Marcos, 27 years. Gawain ko akin, 30 years,” Duterte said.
Marcos was President for 20 years, ruling for 14 years as a dictator after imposing martial law in 1972.
Panelo said Duterte and Marcosboth shared a strong sense of “political will.”
Currently, the government is attempting to strike a new deal with the two water concessionaires after Duterte claimed that the original contracts contained “onerous” provisions.
Ayala and Pangilinan have both expressed willingness to cooperate with the government.
Duterte’s verbal attacks against the Ayala and Pangilinan firms began when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore, in its separate rulings, compelled the Philippine government to pay P3.4 billion and P7.39 billion to Maynilad and Manila Water, respectively, for supposed losses and damages suffered by the two water firms.
On January 7, the President gave Manila Water and Maynilad the option to either accept the new water contracts or face cancellation of their present deals.
Since finding out that the contracts were “disadvantageous” to the government and the public, Duterte said he would not hesitate to have the tycoons detained over syndicated estafa or plunder raps and floated the possibility of asking the military to take over water operations.