Press Release
August 29, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today voiced apprehension that the Philippine government may not only face harsh sanctions but the completion and opening of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 3 may also face further delay as an offshoot of the adverse ruling of the International Chamber of Commerce-Arbitration Tribunal (ICC-AT) based in Singapore.

Pimentel traced these scary developments to the string of governments monumental blunders in handling the controversy over the modern air terminal project which has made the Philippines the laughingstock in the international community.

The ICC-AT has ordered the Philippine government to cease occupation and give up possession of the NAIA-Terminal 3 to its builder, the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco), until a valid writ of possession is issued by a Philippine court.

In its decision dated Aug. 23, the ICC-AT also directed the government not to obstruct Piatco in entering into occupation and taking possession of NAIA Terminal 3.

This is a sad development that is attributable to the failure of the Arroyo government to tackle the issue decisively, Pimentel said.

Pimentel warned that the government may find itself in deeper trouble if it disregards the order of the ICC-AT to which it has submitted itself.

The government is now standing on a precipice. If it defies the ICC-AT on a matter to which it is a party, it may be sanctioned by the tribunal and it may cost us billions of dollars more, he said.

And all because the government had no specific plan to handle the Piatco controversy than to give false hopes to certain favored groups that wanted to take over the facility because of their connections with certain government officials.

Pimentel had opposed the governments decision to void the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract between Piatco and the Manila International Airport Authority in 2003 when NAIA-3 was already more than 90 percent completed and was preparing to start commercial operations.

He maintained that the revocation of the contract was unwise and legally unjustified given the stand of National Economic Development Authority that the deal was above board and the legal opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel that the contract was valid and binding on the parties.

Malacañang had ignored the recommendation of the OGCC and Department of Justice for the renegotiation of certain terms and conditions of the contract that were deemed disadvantageous and onerous to the government.

Pimentel said the government was also at fault when it dragged its feet in the payment of the P3 billion to Piatco that was ordered in 2005 by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Henrick Gongoyon.

He said the delay in the settlement of the partial payment was in bad faith and in defiance of the Supreme Courts order for the payment of just and reasonable compensation to Piatco following the high tribunals decision upholding the nullification of the contract and the governments expropriation of the aviation facility.

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