SC fines Maynilad, Manila Water P900M each for lack of sewage lines

Lian Buan
SC fines Maynilad, Manila Water P900M each for lack of sewage lines
(UPDATED) The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System is held jointly liable for both amounts charged against Maynilad and Manila Water

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc voted 14-0 to fine water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water P921 million each for their failure to put up sewage lines, violating the Clean Water Act.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) was held jointly liable for both amounts charged against Maynilad and Manila Water.

“Maynilad shall be jointly and severally liable with the MWSS for a total amount of P921,464,184 covering the period May 7, 2009 to date of promulgation. Manila Water Co. Inc shall be jointly and severally liable with MWSS for the same amount and period,” said SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka on Tuesday, August 6.

He added, “They shall pay the fine within 15 days from receipt of the decision.” 

The en banc voted unanimously to uphold a 2011 decision by the Court of Appeals (CA) which found the MWSS and its two concessionaires to have violated the Clean Water Act. The CA only imposed P29.4 million that year because the fine covered the year 2009 only.

The issue stemmed from a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) directive from 2009 which sanctioned the concessionaires for failing to put up sufficient sewerage treatment facilities for its covered areas.

Section 8 of the Clean Water Act mandates the MWSS and concessionaires to connect the sewage lines of subdivisions, condominiums, and other establishments to a sewerage system.

The DENR said that the MWSS and concessionaires failed in this mandate, which contributed to the degradation of the Pasig River and Manila Bay.

Beyond the date of promulgation of the decision, if the MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water are still not compliant with Section 8 of the Clean Water Act, they have to pay an additional P322,102 a day until full compliance with the law.

“The initial amount of P322,102.00/day subject to further 10% increase every two years as provided under Section 28 of the Philippine Clean Water Act..Legal interest of 6% per annum until fully satisfied,” said Hosaka.

The SC decision was penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando. The SC initially announced that the voting was 14-0 but later corrected this to say it was 12-0 because Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Andres Reyes Jr abstained.

Peralta abstained because his wife, CA Justice Fernanda Peralta, concurred in the CA decision. Reyes abstained because he was part of the CA division which also once ruled on the case. Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.