By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar on Thursday, December 12, denied allegations that her husband’s family has vested interest in the review of the government’s water concession agreements with Manila Water and Maynilad.
“The department conducted a disinterested review of the concession agreements and I don’t want to even dignify further by answering further accusations,” she told reporters at the sidelines of the 5th Manila International Dialogue on Human Trafficking held at the Manila Hotel.
The undersecretary, who is married to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, is part of the team which conducted the review of the concession agreements and submitted to President Duterte the report which pointed out the onerous provisions of the contracts.
Mrs. Villar responded to reports that the Villars could benefit from the review of the concession agreements since the family owns Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation.
The undersecretary pointed out that it was Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who led the review and not her.
“It was the Secretary himself who conducted the review and who issued the memo regarding that to the President,” she said to reporters.
Mrs. Villar recounted President Duterte gave the order to conduct the review of the concession agreements around May this year.
“Prior to that review there were already several provisions that were identified as being onerous and that was reported in the broadsheets and news and that’s why the President had asked the DOJ to conduct a more thorough review which was headed by the Secretary, not me,” she explained.
Guevarra confirmed he headed the review of the concession deals and was assisted by the Office of the Chief State Counsel (OGSC) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), both of which are under Usec Villar.
With this, the Secretary assured that Usec Villar had no vested interested in participating in the review of the concession agreements.