Palace allays fears of businessmen, says President to respect sanctity of contracts

 Malacañang on Thursday, January 23, assures local and foreign businessmen that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would respect the sanctity of contracts.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador S. Panelo relayed this information to Palace reporters in a press briefing to allay the fears of investors in the country after President Duterte ordered a review of all government contracts entered into by the government.

This after the Chief Executive criticized the Ayala Group for the onerous provisions in the contract of the Manila Water, which demanded the Philippine government to pay the water concessionaire billions of pesos for its alleged accumulated losses. “But let me allay the fears of foreign investors, as well as Filipino businessmen. You don’t have to worry about the review [of contracts] 'cause there’s nothing to worry about with your contracts,” Secretary Panelo explained. “The President will certainly respect the sanctity of contracts except only for provisions which appear to be contrary to law, contrary to public interest and public policy. Otherwise, wala ‘yan, ganoon pa rin ‘yan,” he added.

The Palace official further noted that it is the duty of the government to protect the interest of the people in whatever agreement it enters for the benefit of the country. “Any pronouncement that says that the government will examine, evaluate or review onerous contracts is not something that businessmen should be afraid of because it is the duty of the government precisely to protect the interest of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.

Even with the stringent process that the President wants to undertake when it comes to new contracts, Panelo said that the government will always follow the rule of law regarding contract signing. “Everything is being considered, but there is nothing to worry on the part of the businessmen whether foreign or local because the government will not be reckless as to step into a contract that is not contrary to law,” Panelo stressed. ###OPS/PCO Content