Recently, news broke out about an alleged expose on a “midnight deal” that supposedly happened between Maynilad (then headed by now DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson) and PAGCOR.
In a briefer published by The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, the issue was described as “allegations that Secretary Rogelio Singson as then president of Maynilad Water Services Inc., participated in a water concession midnight deal between Maynilad, the MWSS and PAGCOR involving the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City in Paranaque City that would have supposedly deprived the government of at least P3.6 billion in water fees.”
In the spirit of transparency, I start out by disclosing that Sec. Singson is someone I have known for about two decades since our families are members of the same Catholic charismatic community. While I cannot describe my friendship with him as close and personal because we have never been thrown into the same prayer group (we’re in different geographical locations), I have seen him and his wife in action as active leaders in our community, serving faithfully and humbly. I know him to be a good, honest and God-fearing servant.
A couple of days ago, Sec. Singson circulated an email to our community to explain his side of the issue. I am publishing that email VERBATIM after securing the permission of Sec. Singson to do so.
The email from Sec. Rogelio Singson follows (edited only for punctuations):
The Pagcor- Maynilad agreement for the water supply to Pagcor Entertainment City is not a midnight deal and no payout was made by Maynilad to anyone including Chairman Genuino.
1) Early last year 2009, Chairman Genuino who is a friend asked Maynilad to put a water reservoir in the Pagcor Entertainment City to assure investors that the place will have reliable water supply even as early as during their construction period; Maynilad wrote a letter to MWSS Administrator Allado last year 9 February 2009 informing MWSS of the arrangement Maynilad wishes to enter into with Pagcor.
2) The MOA stipulates among others that Pagcor will grant usufructuary rights to Maynilad for a parcel of land owned by Pagcor for free to Maynilad provided Maynilad will spend for all the cost of construction and connection to their designated stubout connection. Maynilad will be investing close to P500M for the reservoir, pumping station, gensets, etc. The Reservoir will give Pagcor City priority use of the water but Maynilad will also use the reservoir to serve Paranaque and our expansion areas to Las Pinas & Cavite (Imus, Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta, Cavite City); Keep in mind that after the concession agreement all these facilities/investments of Maynilad will revert back to MWSS/government. In response, MWSS sent a letter to Maynilad dated 14 May 2009 signed by then Admn Allado informing Maynilad that the MOA has been reviewed by OGCC and requesting Maynilad to transmit the revised MOA to MWSS for approval of the Board. Keep in mind this was last year May 14 2009.
3) However, recently sometime April 2010, before signing the MOA, former Admin Allado wanted Maynilad to pay MWSS royalty/additional fees claiming that the Pagcor City is outside our concession area. We contested this new demand saying that it had no legal basis and that Pagcor City is within our concession area since we have the West Zone which includes Pasay & Paranaque where Pagcor Entertainment City is located. We are currently servicing already SM MOA and all the adjoining areas to Pagcor City including the subdivision development of Tanyu on the reclaimed areas;
4) Any additional payment of royalty fees MWSS wants to charge will only increase the water rates to Maynilad customers. Maynilad refused to pay any additional fees to MWSS and even considered to bring MWSS to dispute arbitration;
5) Clearly, it is not a midnight deal because the construction of the reservoir started late last year and should be completed by Sept this year;
6) Furthermore, the reservoir project has been included in our Business Plan for the period 2008 – 2012 which we submitted to MWSS in 2008 for our Rate rebasing process. So this is not new but a planned investment for Maynilad to expand its service coverage to the south (Las Pinas, Paranaque, and portions of Cavite).
7) The government is not losing any amount from this transaction as claimed because it does not have any legal basis to claim royalty fees. In fact any payment made to MWSS as additional royalty fees will only increase the water rates to customers and will only be used by MWSS for additional bonuses & allowances and operating expenses. MWSS already imposed starting 2010 on the 2 concessionaires to double our payment for concession fees to MWSS.
Just to complete the reader’s understanding, the Official Gazette also published (and made available as a download) the documents that will support Sec. Singson’s statements above.
You may download the Maynilad-PAGCOR documents HERE. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link “Supporting Documents”. (Update: Deleted dead link)
In closing, Sec. Singson’s being upfront and transparent with the transaction appears to have silenced his detractors for the meantime. However, anything like this brought to the attention of the public must be resolved as soon as possible to leave no doubts in anyone’s mind.
As for Sec. Singson being in DPWH, I have high hopes that he will straighten out this department. After all, while he knows he will have to account not just to us, the citizens of this country; he is well aware that even more, he is accountable to his Divine Creator.
Photo by author Some Rights Reserved.