THE South Korean firm that won the bid to operate the 246-megawatt hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) component of Angat Dam denied the purported anomalies on its acquisition of the project.

In a manifestation filed before the Supreme Court, the Korean Water Resources Development Corp. (KWRC) said it merely submitted its project proposal to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) after qualifying in the pre-bidding process.

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KWRC said it submitted a manifestation in lieu of a Comment on the petition filed by several groups led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), assailing the sale and awarding of the contract to a private firm.

According to KWRC, it merely relied with the mandate and experience of PSALM in the conduct of the public bidding for the privatization of the generation assets of the National Power Corporation.

Thus, the Korean firm said, it is not in a position to comment on the petition seeking to stop PSALM from proceeding with the privatization of Angat HEPP.

The foreign water firm told the high court that it was able to fully comply with all the requirements to be able to qualify in the bidding process.

Among those were the submissions of its letter of interest and executing a confidentiality agreement.

“KWRC respectfully manifests that its participation in the bidding was guided at all times by an abiding respect for the Constitution and laws of the Philippines,” it said.

Having been declared by PSALM as pre-qualified to proceed further in the process, it said it submitted the highest bid for the project in the amount of US$440.8 million.

While it begged off from answering the issues raised in the petition, the water firm, however, urged the Court to immediately resolve the petition in order “to further strengthen and enhance the investment environment” in the country.

Under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), PSALM is mandated to privatize all the assets of the Napocor, including the Angat HEPP.

KWRC along with Psalm, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Irrigation Administration were named respondents in the suit filed by FDC.

Last May 25, the Chief Justice Renato Corona issued a status quo ante order barring PSALM from proceeding with the privatization pending the final resolution of the petition.

The order was later affirmed by other SC magistrates when the full-court session resumed on June 15.

In its petition, FDC with co-petitioners Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment Through Alternative Legal Services Inc. (Ideals, Inc.), Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party, Alliance of Progressive Labor and Akbayan Representative Walden Bello argued that the bidding held last January 11, 2010 should be nullified for being contrary to the Constitution.

They said Psalm acted with grave abuse of discretion when it started the bidding process for the Angat HEPP without providing the public important information in connection with its privation.

Petitioners further said there was also no transparency in the bidding process considering PSALM’s refusal to provide them certified true copies of documents relating to the sale of Angat HEPP and the profile of K-Water.

Angat is the single most important water source of Metro Manila as it provides 97 percent of the water needs of at least 12 million residents of the country’s capital and irrigates some 31,000 hectares of farms across 20 towns and municipalities in Bulacan and Pampanga.(JCV/Sunnex)