Supreme hypocrisy

By: Artchil B. Fernandez

Du30 continues to harangue the oligarchs, his current flavor of the month, accusing them of screwing the nation. He threatened to inflict on them his favorite way of hitting people. “Tag-isang sampal kayo sa akin. Maniwala kayo. Patikim ko sa inyo. Pakita ko sa Pilipino paano mag-sampal ng mga milyonaryo, bilyonaryo (You get a slap each from me. Believe me. I will give you a taste. I will show Filipinos how to slap millionaires, billionaires),” he howled. How macho is Du30’s way of dealing with his perceived enemies?

The cause of Du30’s latest tantrum is the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore on the case brought before it by water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad, owned by the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan. They sued the Philippine government for refusing to allow them to increase rates from June 2015 to November 2019, thus incurring losses. The Singapore-based international court ruled in favor of the water concessionaires, ordering the Philippine government to pay them US$ 144 million or Php 7.39 billion.

The decision of the arbitration court riled Du30. He is particularly sore at the onerous and lopsided contracts which favor the water concessionaires and vowed the government will not pay the compensation ordered by the court. “Pakainin ko ‘yung pera sa kanila,” he wailed. “We lost our sovereignty. We bargained it away. This is a classic case of economic plunder. Wala lang nakasilip dito (But no one was able to look into this). I can only assume money really talks,” Du30 cried.

The anger against the oligarchs is echoed by Du30’s fanatics and paid trolls. Social media is flooded with memes, posts and fake news on the alleged sins and evils of the target oligarchs. Du30 and his minions make it appear the water controversy is the sole making of the oligarchs and on their own, they imposed on the nation contracts that are so disadvantageous to the Filipino people.

Du30, who is a lawyer, and his fanatics deliberately ignore the nature of a contract. A contract is a binding agreement between two persons or parties. A contract is not possible if there is only one person or party. There must be an element of the other. In the case of the water contracts, the oligarchs are only one party. The other party is the government. Du30 and his fanatics intentionally omitted the other party involved in the contract. This act of omission exposed their supreme hypocrisy on the issue.

To refresh the memory of Du30 and his minions, the contracts were crafted and signed in 1997, when Fidel Ramos who is currently an ally of Du30 was president. Severe drought hit the country and water supply in Metro Manila was badly affected at the time leading to the passing of the Water Crisis Act of 1995. With the backing of the said law, Ramos issued Executive Order No. 311 privatizing the water services. One of the lawyers who advised and helped prepare the one-sided contracts in favor of private concessionaires was the chief legal counsel of Ramos, Renato Cayetano, father of another Du30 ally, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

One provision prevents the government from interfering in the setting of water rates. This provision is used by the water concessionaires to sue the government in Singapore. Another provision allows the water concessionaires to pass their corporate income taxes to the consumers. These provisions are grossly onerous.

The Ramos administration granted 25-year contracts to the water concessionaires which are set to expire in 2022. In 2009, twelve years before the contracts expire, “president” Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) extended the contracts for another 15 years which will now expire in 2037. The move of GMA was highly questionable and anomalous. Why extend the contracts more than a decade before they expire?

If the contracts are tantamount to economic plunder, why solely run after the water concessionaires who are only one of the parties in the burdensome contracts? Those who approved and extended the contracts are equally liable for economic plunder. Why is Du30 threatening to slap the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan only and exclude those who connived with them? If he is really mad at the evil arrangements, he should go after all those who are involved in their crafting, approval, and extension.

Du30 is eerily silent on the culpability of Ramos and Arroyo. They are complicit to what Du30 calls the surrender and bargaining away of the country’s sovereignty. Du30 said money talked when the contracts were approved and extended, so his allies have financially benefited from the one-sided contracts. Refusal of Du30 to subject his allies, Ramos and Arroyo to a tongue lashing exposed the hypocrisy of his anti-corruption stance.

This is the problem when one does not think before speaking. Du30 opened his dirty mouth and spew filthy words without first doing simple research. Now the issue has boomeranged on him for it exposed his high hypocrisy and the fakeness of his anti-corruption posturing. The same can be said of his fanatics who blindly followed their cult-god without thinking and are now at loss on how to handle the issue. Their refusal to condemn Ramos and Arroyo show they are not really crusaders of good government or allergic to corruption but zombies if not paid hacks.

The issue of the onerous water contracts is an addition to the piling evidence that Du30 is not against corruption. He embraces the corrupt as exposed by the controversy on the lopsided water contract and protects them. In fact, there is no prosecution of big corruption cases involving high government officials in the more than three years he is in office. He is even shielding Imelda Marcos from arrest despite the conviction of corruption. Du30’s rants against corruption are just cheap words, all bark but no bite.