Maynilad Water Services Inc. on Tuesday cried foul over the report that it “treated executives of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and a select few of journalist to a Hong Kong trip” besides biletting the to a classy Four Seasons Hotel to drum up the water concessionaire’s upcoming projects and loan applications.
In a letter to The Manila Times, Cherubim Mojica, head of Maynilad corporate communications, said it was the Board of Directors of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) who went to Hong Kong and “not the MWSS BOT (Board of Trustees) and MWSS Regulatory Office.
“It was also MPIC who invited the reporters from the Philippine Stock Exchange [PSE] and Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] to a media briefing in Hong Kong—not Maynilad,” Mojica said.
“Maynilad did not fly, billet at Four Seasons Hotel and give shopping money to the MWSS Board of Trustees and regulators, and selected Philippine journalists,” Mojica said.
She also refuted the claim of RJ Javellana, Water for All Refund Movement (Warm) president and spoke person as “malicious and unsubstantiated.”
“For the record, there is absolutely no truth to the claims of Mr. RJ Javellana,” Mojica said in the official letter.
“Our Chief Financial Officer Randy Estrellado never said that Malacañang approved our projects because Manny Pangilinan contributed P300 million to the presidential campaign of then Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd,” Mojica added.
“Mr. Javellana was not even physically present in the MPIC board meeting and media briefing. Mr. Javellana also did not substantiate his claims with any documentation or corroborating evidence,” Mojica also said.
Meanwhile, a consumer group yesterday accused Warm of being the attack dog of Gerardo Esquivel, the beleaguered MWSS administrator who faces a string of graft cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The consumer group also assailed Warm for using squid tactics and confusing the public of the real issue behind the on-going arbitration between MWSS and its water concessionaires. The group says Warm is misleading the public and doing a great disservice to the people.
Raymond Timbol, co-convenor of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC), an umbrella organization of five urban poor groups told The Times that it does not surprise them anymore that Javellana, is now active again in the media because his funder is now under heavy attack by the public due to graft and corruption.
A former leftist organizer, Javellana changed his “profession” by offering his services to politicians embroiled in serious graft and corrupt cases. In 2008, Javellana led the so-called Koalisyon ng Mamamayan, a group used in defending ex-President Gloria Arroyo from reformist groups.
Timbol said that Javellana is close to lawyer Rodrigo “Jun” Gatmaitan, a close friend of Esquivel who is now facing 11 counts of graft and corruption. Sources also point to MWSS deputy regulator Vince Yambao who reportedly supplied cause-oriented groups with highly sensitive government documents used as fodder in attacks against two water firms, Manila Water and Maynilad.