Legaspi Law Offices

The Supreme Court has been asked to declare as unconstitutional the 1997 concession agreement of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Maynilad Water and Manila Water for being inimical to public interest.

In a petition for certiorari and prohibition, ABAKADA Party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz and lawyer Florante Legaspi Jr., said the respondents acted to “circumvent” water rates.

The Ayala-led Manila Water is servicing the east zone of Metro Manila with the west service area given to the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and DMCI Holdings under businessman Manny Pangilinan.

The party-list group also sought the nullification of the resolution issued by the MWSS Regulatory Office extending the two separate concession agreements to another 15 years or until 2037.

The petition said that despite the fact that the concession agreements will not expire for 12 more years and the absence of a water crisis in the country, the MWSS opted to extend the agreements.

The group argued that such action on the part of the MWSS constitutes grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction for disregarding public bidding under the Government procurement Reform Act.

“Although the agreements have, patent on their faces, grave flaws that hostage the government to the whims of the concessionaires, the MWSS surprisingly and without any justification renewed these unconstitutional contracts for an additional 15years way before they were to expire,” the party-list group said.

The very basis of the respondents Manila Water and Maynilad in exploiting the rates of water tariffs in their serviced areas are the assailed Concession Agreements executed in February 1997 between the MWSS, on the one hand, and Manila Water and Maynilad, on the other hand.”

The group said the MWSS is faulted for reneging on its duties as well.

“The sovereign powers of the state cannot be contracted away. Considering that there is no showing that the Legislature has allowed public respondent MWSS to further delegate the above-mentioned governmental powers to other entities, especially not to private persons such as Manila Water and Maynilad, the MWSS thus acted in grave abuse of its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction for delegating these powers,” the petition said.

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