By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – President Duterte’s loan deal with China over the planned Chico River Pump Irrigation Project and its questionable terms and conditions shall be put into acid test when nationalist law makers and people’s organizations filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Thursday, April 4, to declare the loan agreement, including other similar loans. as unconstitutional, illegal, and void.
Summary of the petition was sent to BicolToday.com in Naga City.
To specify, Petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to declare the US$62,086,837.82 Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement on the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, identified under No. 1420103052018210863 CHINA EXIMBANK PBC 2018 NO. 11 TOTAL NO. 468, as unconstitutional, illegal and void. Petitioners also ask the Court to provide urgent relief by issuing a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, to enjoin Respondents from enforcing the loan agreement.
Petitioners are Makabayan Chairman Neri J. Colmenares; Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate; Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel B. Casilao; Gabriela Women’s Partylist Reps. Emerenciana A. De Jesus and Arlene D. Brosas; Act Teachers Partylist Reps. Antonio L. Tinio and Francisca L. Castro; Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago; Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Chairperson Danilo H. Ramos; and Kalinga leader Elma A. Tuazon.
Named as Respondents are Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte; Exec. Sec. Salvador C. Medialdea; DOF Sec. Carlos G. Dominguez III; NEDA Sec. Ernesto M. Pernia; DOJ Sec. Menardo I. Guevarr; and, NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya.
Petitioners led by Makabayan bloc coalition members cited the assailed loan agreement and subsequent implementation thereof, violate the Constitution and are, therefore, void.
The Petitioners cited the grounds, in the submitted petition:
1. It contains a Confidentiality Clause violative of the 1987 Constitution that provides for the right to information of the Filipino people on foreign loans contracted by the government (Sec. XII, Sec. 21 and 22; Art. II, Sec. 28; Art. III, Sec. 7);
2. It was approved after-the-fact by the Monetary Board which is not in conformity with the 1987 Constitution that requires prior concurrence (Art. VII, Sec. 20; Art. XII, Sec. 21);
3. It is conditioned on the signing of a contractor’s agreement awarding the project to a Chinese construction firm and, thereby, doing away with the country’s procurement laws and the Filipino First Policy of the 1987 Constitution (Art. XII, Sec. 10; Procurement Reform Act R.A. No. 9184; Official Development Assistance Act R.A. No. 8182);
4. It hauls the country to a Chinese arbitration tribunal, officiated by Chinese arbitrators using Chinese laws, in violation of Art. II, Sec. 7 of the Constitution;
5. It contains an express waiver of sovereign immunity over the State’s patrimonial assets in favor of a foreign government in violation of the Constitution (Art. XII, Sec. 7; Art. II, Sec. 7; Art. XII, Sec. 2).
The Supreme Court is requested by the Petitioners to give due course to the petition, with prayers, that:
1. Immediately issue a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) and/or a WRIT OF PRELIMINARY PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION on Respondents, and all persons acting under their command, order, and responsibility, from further enforcing the loan agreement;
2. Order Respondents to produce the following documents:
(a) Procurement documents in granting the civil works to the Chinese contractor;
(b) Other relevant documents in connection with this case.
3. Order all concerned agencies of government to produce certified true copies, upon request, of all loan agreements executed by and between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and China;
4. After notice and hearing, declare the assailed loan agreement, including the implementation thereof, as UNCONSTITUTIONAL, ILLEGAL, and VOID. [BicolToday.com]