Duterte apologizes to Ayalas, Pangilinan, saying COVID-19 ''humbled'' him
Saying that he was humbled by the coronavirus disease crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte has apologized to the Ayalas and Manuel Pangilinan whom he threatened to slap and send to jail over the alleged onerous water concession agreements with the government during the previous administrations.
In a televised message late Monday night, Duterte said he is ready to talk with the businessmen as he thanked them for their help as the county grapples with the pandemic.
"To the big businesses, let me tell you something. We have problem before, which was really part of governance and which I hope would understand that it was really part of my sworn duty - as an employee of the government who heads the executive department," he said.
"Words were, well, mainly mine. But if you can just forget it for the moment, I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us - helping us, you know, 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.
"The COVID humbled me. That with this kind of response that you gave, showed to the public, it's a humbling experience also for me that, you know, you might need them in the future," he said.
He said there could be a lot of legal issues, but these could be discussed later as he is ready to talk and be reasonable.
"Those hurting words 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 I will ask - if you do not want to forgive me, I will undercut you. I'll go direct to God," Duterte stressed.
Last year, Duterte ordered the Department of Justice to review the concession agreements with the Ayala-owned Manila Water Company, Inc. and Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services Inc.
The DOJ found that the contracts were onerous and disadvantageous to the government.
He accused the two companies of milking the Filipinos by the billions.
In some of his speeches, Duterte even threatened to slap the Ayalas and Pangilinan when he sees them and to send them to jail. Celerina Monte/DMS