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Iloilo mayor ready to go all the way to the Supreme Court over water franchise case

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ILOILO City Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III

ILOILO City Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III has defended the granting of a water supply franchise to Villar-led PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp. saying he is ready to go all the way to the Supreme Court over charges filed by existing distributor Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD). The mayor and eight city councilors who voted in favor of the PrimeWater license last Dec. 11 are facing criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman filed by MIWD. “We will fight up to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Espinosa said in an interview on Tuesday. He also criticized MIWD for taking legal action instead of focusing on improving its services. “Instead of filing the case, what they should do is increase their capacity from 21% to 100%. If their services are okay, no one else would apply here,” he said. MIWD, in its complaint, questions the local government’s authority to grant a franchise, citing that such power is under the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo