Let the Courts Decide


Everybody seems to be coming out with their two cents worth of opinion, this writer included, regarding the latest declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte that the water concession agreements entered into by the government with wealthy business companies are onerous and disadvantageous to the Filipino people.

Indeed how can one of the basic necessities in life are sold at a burdensome cost as to prejudice the interests of the many. Without water people will die, that is a fact. There is no escaping the reality that water is a vital component for human existence. Without the life-sustaining liquid the human species will be well on its way to extinction.

But here the President is saying that the ultra-rich oligarchs of the country have taken it unto themselves to further enrich themselves at the expense of the people and using high water bills to fatten their accounts. This is simply acceptable is what the president is saying.

Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag the President is mulling the idea of immediately putting a stop to this burdensome water concession agreements and has already reported to have ordered the filing of charges against those ostensibly involved in the concession agreements with the Manila Water and Maynilad companies which, according to Digong, is replete with provisions harmful to the Filipinos.

In so far as rescinding the contracts are concerned the President has already intimated that he is inclined to just unilaterally cancel this contracts and it is here where some experts are saying that it cannot just be done that way, the unilateral rescission of onerous contracts.

Some experts in the realm of law have even gone to extent of postulating that while the President has basis for rescinding these water concession agreements with water concessionaires it cannot be done arbitrary manner. These experts say that it must undergo a certain process in the courts.

Well that is true but we all know that if the matter is brought to the courts it will take some time before it can be resolved and in the meantime the people will continue to suffer the burden of paying exorbitant water bills or for non-existent or less than sufficient supply of water.

May be and as a suggestion perhaps the President can request the Supreme Court to constitute an ad hoc court that will handle the specific cases to be filed for the rescission of these water concessions so that justice will not be denied.

This special court to be constituted will only focus in resolving the issue on whether these water concession agreements are indeed onerous and burdensome the people and the government and lopsided in favor of the oligarchs of the country. Can the Supreme Court order the creation of such a special court. Of course it can.

Perhaps it can even declare that the said special court would be the ultimate and final decider of the water concessions controversy and its decision will be equivalent to a Supreme Court decision. The reason for this is that the matter under consideration is water which is the most vital and basic necessity for the existence and sustenance of life. The urgency of the resolution of the issue cannot be understated.