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Lagman: Duterte’s imposition on Maynilad, Manila Water unconstitutional

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition on Maynilad and Manila Water to accept government’s unilateral revision of their existing water concessions violates the constitutional guarantee on the freedom to contract, according to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

“The Constitution protects contracts from impairment by the State,” the opposition lawmaker from the Liberal Party said on Monday.

“The mere say-so of the Duterte administration that the water concessions contain onerous provisions must pass judicial scrutiny, and any one-sided investigation by the administration will never suffice,” Lagman said.

He said one of the major factors considered by potential investors is the “predictability of the enforcement of government policies.

But “any constitutional violation of the freedom to contract derogates that certainty,” Lagman warned.

“The President’s threats that if the water concessionaires will not accept his imposition, the government will take over the water utilities will further drive away investors following the report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that foreign direct investments plunged 32.8 percent from January to October in 2019,” he said.