President Rodrigo Roa Duterte apologized to the Ayala clan and businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan after he criticized them earlier this year for its supposedly onerous agreements with the government in the water distribution sector.
“I am ready to talk and I would be reasonable, to the Ayalas and to Pangilinan, I apologize for the hurting words. If you can find in your heart to forgive me, because if you do not then if you do not want to forgive me I will undercut you I will go direct to God,” said the Chief Executive in a televised address on Monday night.
He also thanked the businessmen for extending aide during the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
“I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us provide the necessities of the moment. I can promise you that I’ll be nice and if you want to see me, we can talk,” Duterte said.
“Naubos na po yung pagkasuplado ko dahil sa COVID. The COVID humbled me with the kind of response that you gave, showed to the public. It’s a humbling experience also for me that baka kailangan mo rin sila balang araw, so maybe there will be a lot of legal issues but we can talk,” he added.
On Tuesday morning, Pangilinan, in a tweet, acknowledged the apology of the President.
“I wish to assure him that our group is fully committed to being a partner of the government in addressing the heartbreaking moments of COVID-19 on our people, in building a better tomorrow for them. We are, and have always been here, for the country,” Pangilinan said in his tweet.
I wish to assure him that our Group is fully committed to being a partner of Govt in addressing the heartbreaking moments of Covid 19 on our people, in building a better tomorrow for them. We are, and have always been here, for the country.
— Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) May 4, 2020
Pangilinan is the head of the Metro Pacific Group of Companies, where Maynilad is one of its companies.
Meanwhile, Fernando Zobel de Ayala is the chairman of the Manila Waterboard and his brother, Jaime, is the vice-chairman of the water utility company of the Ayala Corporation.
Late 2019, Duterte said that the Ayalas and Pangilinan were liable for plunder as they have been ‘fooling’ Filipino ever since.
He also accused the Ayala-owned Manila Water of not paying corporate income taxes.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore has ordered the Philippine government to pay Maynilad about Php 3.6 billion for losses and damages and recently Php 7.4 billion to Manila Water on the same issue.