Duterte apologizes to Ayala, Manny Pangilinan

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) – President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to businessmen Manny Pangilinan and the Ayala clan for his harsh words that he said to them during his administration.

“The COVID humbled me... I am ready to talk and I would be reasonable, 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 if you do not want to forgive me I will undercut you I will go direct to God,” said Duterte in his taped weekly message that aired late Monday night

Duterte also thanked the business sector in the country for helping them during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us provide the necessities of the moment,” he added.

Shares in Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation both rallied on Tuesday, hours after President Rodrigo Duterte's public apology to the two conglomerates after months of tirades over their water concession deals with government.

The AC share price surged by 14.73 percent to close at ₱642.50, while MPIC enjoyed a 13.55 percent lift that boosted its share price to ₱2.85 by the closing bell, according to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

READ: Duterte unlikely to sue water firms after apology to Ayala, Pangilinan business groups – Roque

In a tweet early Tuesday morning, Pangilinan acknowledged the sincerity and kindness of Duterte's apology to him.

"I wish to assure him that our group is fully committed to being a partner of the government in addressing the heartbreaking moments of COVID-19 on our people, in building a better tomorrow for them. We are, and have always been here, for the country," said Pangilinan in his tweet.

Pangilinan is the head of the Metro Pacific Group of Companies, where Maynilad is one of its companies.

While Fernando Zobel de Ayala is the chairman of the Manila Water board and his brother, Jaime, is the vice chairman of the water utility company of the Ayala Corporation. The Zobel brothers thanked the President for acknowledging the Ayala Corporations' efforts to support the government's COVID-19 response, vowing continuous help.

"We are committed to help the President tackle the many challenges he has to deal with and are confident that by working together, our country can overcome each challenge, save lives and gradually put the country back on a path of growth," they said in a statement. 

Early December last year, Duterte threatened to file a plunder case against Metro Manila water concessionaire companies Manila Water and Maynilad for supposedly entering into onerous agreements with the government.

READ: Duterte to file plunder charges vs. Maynilad, Manila Water

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ordered the government last year to pay ₱7.39 billion to Manila Water due to the losses incurred by the company stemming from rejected water rate hikes back in 2015.

The PCA also ruled the government in 2016 to pay ₱3.4 billion for Maynilad's losses from March 2015 to August 2016.

READ: Arbitral court tells PH gov't to pay ₱7.4B to Manila Water

Nilaro niyo yung Pilipino sa pera... I will pursue this if this is only thing I can achieve in this administration,” said Duterte.

[Translation: You fooled the Filipinos with money...I will pursue this if this is only thing I can achieve in this administration.]

Last March 11, the President expressed his willingness to resolve their conflicts with the two main water concessionaires in the country.

Aside from water, both the Ayala clan and Pangilinan have business interests in the energy and infrastructure sectors.