President Digong made the water tycoons cower
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 15, 2019 - 12:00am

For the first time in our history, we have a president who doesn’t bow to the whims of the business tycoons, who doesn’t fear the powers of the Chinese taipans, and even makes the moguls and magnates in Forbes, Dasmariñas, and Ayala Alabang yield to his branded presidential bravado.

The recent success of President Rudy Duterte in making the water tycoons, the Ayalas of Manila Water, and MVP of Maynilad, yield to his impulsive threats to jail the rich for economic sabotage, was an unprecedented feat in our history. He just uttered a few unprintable expletives and issued a threat to suspend the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, then warned he would arrest those who supposedly concocted a highly onerous water concession agreement. In a matter of hours, Rene Almendras, president of Manila Water, and Ramoncito Fernandez of Maynilad, waved the white flag and declared that they are no longer collecting a total of P10.8 billion from the government.

Almendras and Fernandez, representing the Ayalas and MVP, respectively, appeared before the House Committee investigating the controversy. They were like defeated boxers who were biting dust after a technical knockout due to a wild upper cut delivered by the warrior from Davao. Almendras, in a very low voice, announced that Manila Water will no longer pursue collection of P7.4 billion that the company won against the Philippine government before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore. Fernandez followed by declaring that Maynilad is no longer collecting the P3.4 billion that the firm also won in Singapore arbitration court.

No other president achieved such a whopping victory. Manong Digong saved the Filipinos no less than P10.8 billion. And what is more, the two water companies also assured the government that they won't raise the water bills in the meantime. The usual Duterte style of bullying supported by legalistic braggadocio, such us using the state's inherent power of eminent domain, and to take over the two water firms, worked tremendously well. They tycoons have shown their Achilles heels, and they have finally found their match in a fearless president. And they have finally showed us all that they are weak after all, because the whole nation is behind the president in his crusade against the oligarchs.

In 2017, the president gave Lucio Tan 10 days to pay billions, and the taipan yielded and paid. In a matter of few days, PAL sent its VP for Legal who delivered a check to CAAP in the amount of P6 billion representing unpaid air navigational charges, which remained a dormant collectible for many decades, transcending a number of Philippine presidents. PAL also paid another check to NAIAA representing unpaid charges in the amount of P258,594,230.30 which stayed uncollected for so long. The president also compelled the Prieto family to vacate the choice real estate in Makati, the 2.9-hectare “Mile Long” property, the rent of which was allegedly unpaid. Also, the Prietos unloaded their pizza franchise and is reported to be negotiating for the sale of Inquirer to a taipan close to Malacañan.

The president also warned that ABS-CBN may not be able to renew its franchise. He has an issue against this powerful network. Well, a lot of Filipinos are really happy that finally, the rich in our country are afraid of government. Manong Digong really knows the art of Machiavelli and it is succeeding for us, the hoi polloi.

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