2 NGOs eye plunder raps vs MWSS officials
MANILA, Philippines - Two non-government organizations (NGOs) yesterday said that they plan to file plunder charges against past and present officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the MWSS Regulatory Office, and water concessionaires Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.
Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) president Rodolfo Javellana Jr. said that they would hold all those who refused to implement the water refund accountable and might file plunder charges against them.
“All those involved in this decision would be in trouble because this concerns the money of the water consumers and they are fooling the government and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Let us wait for our lawyers, they are already studying this matter,” said Javellana.
He said the “collusion” was obvious because while the Supreme Court had issued an order for the water companies to refund consumers, the firms reportedly have not complied.
Water Watch Coalition (WWC) president Rodrigo Gatmaitan said the fees collected by the two private water firms that should be refunded to their consumers reportedly amounted to P42 billion, making it a bigger issue than the pork barrel scam.
He said the mess involving the water rates could go as high as P100 billion if the past 10 years are factored in.
Gatmaitan said the firms should not have passed on the expenses to their consumers.
“What they did to their consumers was like a legal holdup,” he claimed.
Javellana explained that based on the concession agreement between the government and the two water utility firms, only a 12-percent profit margin is allowed for both companies, which would be computed from the investment assets they have allocated for operations.