Gwen infers ‘conflict of interest’ in Manila Water JIA terms breach

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo December 16,2019 - 10:57 PM

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. | Irene Sino Cruz

CEBU CITY, Philippines —   Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is suspecting conflict of interest as the reason behind former Capitol officials “failure to protect the interest of the province” concerning the joint investment agreement of the provincial government and Manila Water Consortium Inc.

In a press conference on Monday, December 16, Garcia lashed out at the administration of former governor Hilario Davide III and former Vice Governor Agnes Magpale for allegedly “handing over in a silver platter” the shares of the Capitol in the joint investment project for bulk water supply production.

Read more: Manila Water hopes for win-win solution on JIA termination: ‘We acted in good faith’

Garcia commented after Manila Water Consortium on Sunday, December 15, stated that the Capitol, in 2015, waived the right to put up the 49 percent of P150 million additional capitalization for the bulk water supply project.

The project cost, which was supposedly only for P703 million, has been increased to P1.003 billion to suit the needs to supply water to the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), said MWCI.

In a resolution passed in the Provincial Board in June 2015, the Capitol opted not to put up its 49 percent share on the additional capitalization “for lack of disposable funds.”

The resolution which was authored by former seventh district board member and now Representative Peter John Calderon was unanimously carried by the PB.

“What makes this one onerous is the fact that one of the top officials at the time that the province was grossly disadvantaged is the sister of the president of Manila Water,” Garcia said referring to Magpale.

Magpale is the sister of Manila Water Company, Inc. president and former foreign affairs secretary Rene Almendras. Manila Water is the mother company of the consortium.

Garcia said the relationship between Magpale and the top official of Manila Water may have caused the former vice governor “not to defend the province.”

Magpale denied Garcia’s allegations and maintained that she did not cause the province from turning down to put up the additional investment.

“I had nothing to do with that,” Magpale said in a message reply to CDN Digital.

Garcia said the Capitol would be taking action against the former officials who allegedly allowed the province’s shares in the joint investment project to be diluted to a little over 29 percent from originally 49 percent because of waiving to put up the additional capital.

However, Garcia said they would focus on the process of buying out the shares of MWCI for now after she had officially terminated the JIA with the company last December 11.

According to Lawyer Marino Martinquilla, one of the legal consultants of the Capitol, it is provided in the terms of the JIA that if one of the parties commit a fault in the JIA, the party that has no fault may buy out the shares of the other party at 80 percent of its fair market price./dbs

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TAGS: Almendras, conflict of interest, Davide III, Garcia, Gwen, JIA, Magpale, Manila Water

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