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The group requests that the SC order Manila Water and Maynilad to reimburse customers.

A request has been made for the Supreme Court (SC) to partially review its earlier this month decision on the water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water.

Former party-list representative Neri Colmenares asked the tribunal to reconsider the part of its decision that stated that the income taxes paid by water concessionaires and passed on to customers could no longer be recovered because the right to a refund had long since expired in a motion for partial reconsideration submitted on Thursday.

In a case docketed as GR 219362, one of eight distinct petitions combined and determined by the SC last month, Colmenares and the party-list organization Bayan Muna are listed among the petitioners.

Manila Water and Maynilad are public utilities, according to the Supreme Court’s ruling, and as such, they are not allowed to recoup their corporate income taxes from customers.

The panel did declare that income taxes that have already been passed through to consumers cannot be recovered because the entitlement to a refund, which had to be claimed within 30 days of the rates going into force, had long since expired.

By the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Charter, Manila Water, and Maynilad are both public utilities and are subject to the 12-percent cap on the rate of their returns.

In his appeal, Colmenares argued that MWSS ought to be ordered to consider all corporate income taxes of Manila Water and Maynilad that they permitted to be taken into account when determining the applicable water rates from 2002 to 2012.

He added that Manila Water and Maynilad should be ordered to reimburse their respective water customers for any corporate income taxes that were improperly passed on to them.

He stated, “it is beyond the capacity of ordinary consumers to know that they are supposed to appeal any decision by the MWSS on water rates to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB)”.

According to the petitioner, even assessing whether the water companies had exceeded the permitted net return of 12 percent was a time-consuming and expensive process that “no ordinary water consumer can possibly undertake.”

Additionally, he said that “MWSS has to rely on Commission on Audit findings to do such heavy duty and the accounting results are frequently released years after a certain water tariff schedule has been issued and taken effect.

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