Malampaya graft complaint a 'political propaganda' — Cusi

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
Malampaya graft complaint a 'political propaganda' â Cusi
This file photo shows Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Ernie Peñaredondo, file

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 5:30 p.m.) — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi called the criminal complaint hurled against him, businessman Dennis Uy and 24 others over the Malampaya gas field buyout a “harassment” and “political propaganda.”

“Clearly, this is harassment, but it comes with the territory, so we will just address it at the proper forum where it was filed,” Cusi said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I have no doubt the truth will vindicate me and the innocent people dragged into this purported action clearly filed for the singular purpose of political propaganda,” he added.

The complainants alleged that Cusi and other respondents were in clear violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The 48-page graft rap were filed by “concerned citizens” Balgamel Domingo, Rodel Rodis, and Loida Nicolas Lewis at the Office of the Ombudsman in Iloilo City on October 18. Domingo is a geologist at the University of the Philippines while lawyer Rodis and businesswoman Lewis are both based in the US.

The respondents were accused of “(conspiring) to give unwarranted benefits and advantage” to Uy, whose company recently took over the Malampaya project.

Last May, Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. announced it sold its 45% share in Service Contract 38 in Malampaya deep water gas-to-power to Udenna Corp., which already owned a 45% stake in the project after Uy purchased Chevron Malampaya LLC’s share in 2020.

The remaining 10% belonged to state-run Philippine National Oil Corp. (PNOC).

In a separate statement, Shell Philippines, whose managing director is among the respondents to the case, said: "We have yet to receive the official document to be able to properly comment on this matter."

Chevron and Udenna have not responded to requests for comment as of reporting.

The gas project in Malampaya’s oil fields has been operational since 2001 and accounts for 40% of Luzon’s yearly energy needs. The project is crucial for the government as it generates revenues in the form of royalties. In 2020, these reached P26.57 billion, building 60% of the total.

The complainants said that had the Philippine government acquired Chevron’s stake in Malampaya and matched Udenna’s offer, it could have easily raked in P21 billion annually. Revenues could potentially double to P42 billion a year if combined with Udenna’s deal with Shell Philippines.


Editor's note: Added Shell Philippines' comment.

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