By KIMBERLIE NGABIT QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Makabayan block is preparing a case to question the constitutionality of the loan agreement between China and the government for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) at the Supreme Court.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said they are now finalizing the petition and hopefully file it on April 3 to question the constitutionality of the use of the country’s patrimonial assets as collateral for loans.
They also ask the high court to issue a temporary restraining order to put the construction on hold until the issues on the onerous deal is resolved according to him.
“Does the President have the power do that (use patrimonial assets as collateral)?” Zarate raised.
He also pointed out that the CRPIP loan agreement stipulates an automatic appropriation for loan payment.
“While there is a Marcosian law providing for an automatic debt appropriation, but we still need to review this,” the Bayan Muna representative said.
Zarate added the even the automatic debt appropriation law needs to be revisited and repealed because it deprives Congress of its power of appropriation.
The solon also challenged the government to be transparent and bare the documents on the different loan agreements with China like of the Kaliwa dam.
“We, the Filipino people have the right to know the contents of the agreement, what is the collateral,” he said, adding that even Congress have not seen the contents of the loan agreement.
Zarate said that at the moment they only have the leaked documents on the CRPIP loan agreement, and have asked for a certified copy of the agreements that the Department of Finance (DOF) has yet to provide.
The lawmaker war in Baguio City on Mar 30 to grace the regional gathering of Bayan Muna Cordillera and consult with their leaders in the region on the issue.
Malacañang and finance officials defended the loan but did not deny the content of the leaked document bared by former Bayan Muna representative and Makabayan sanatorial candidate Neri Colmenares.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo called the provisions “standard” and admitted the country has no choice but to agree with terms imposed by China in credit contract. He even declared that there if nothing wrong allowing the Chinese government to seized patrimonial assets if the country failed to pay the loan.
Besides Colmenares and the Makabayan lawmakers, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also warned of the dire consequences of the loan agreement.
Carpio said the collateral may include the oil and gas-rich Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea prompting the Palace spokes to call the SC justice “unpatriotic.” # nordis.net