MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "intervene" in reported spikes in water and electricity bills, saying the issue could "haunt" administration candidates in the 2022 national elections.
Marcos was referring to numerous complaints about hefty utility bills - usually triple or quadruple the amount of usual dues - imposed by water concessionaires and electricity distributors after the enhanced community quarantine was lifted in the capital region.
"The sudden spike in water and power costs are a real shock to the ordinary consumer. Who knows how it really happened?" Marcos said in a statement.
The President should "already intervene on an issue that affects the everyday lives of the people, if he wants his candidates to win in the next election," Marcos' statement read.
"It's not far-fetched that the issue of high power and water rates could haunt the administration's candidates in 2022," she said.
The administration senator is an ally of the President. In several occasions, Duterte had praised the former Ilocos Norte governor for being one of the 2 governors who backed his presidential bid in 2016.
The problem can be resolved by "demanding full disclosure of computing procedures done by Meralco, Maynilad, and Manila Water," the senator said.
"If they must be brought to court, so be it," she said.
The utility providers earlier said that the June bills of consumers were based on estimates as their employees were not able to read meters during the nearly 80-day coronavirus lockdown.
But Marcos said that the strategy of the companies was done in a "careless manner."
"How could they expect the people to just accept their so-called estimates? Estimates are confusing and angering," Marcos said.
Utility firms should also be warned not to cut off services in households that could not settle their dues while the issue remains unresolved.
Marcos' younger brother, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., earlier said that he plans to make a political comeback in 2022 after losing the vice presidential race in 2016.
Imee Marcos earlier said that her brother has yet to decide which position to vie for in 2022 as he is still on a "wait and see mode."
The Marcoses continue to enjoy political clout especially in Northern Luzon long after the demise of their father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, whose dictatorial rule was marked by human rights violations and a plunder of state coffers, among others.