For railroading the approval of the sale of participating interest of Chevron in Malampaya gas field, key officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi are criminally and administratively liable for graft, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct and should immediately resign from their posts, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
“I call on Secretary Cusi and his erring subordinates to immediately resign. With all that has happened, the Filipino people can no longer trust you to faithfully safeguard our country’s precious energy resources,” Gatchalian stressed.
In a privilege speech delivered Wednesday, February 2, Gatchalian exposed the numerous times that the DOE officials violated laws just so they could give a seal of approval to the sale of the 45% participating interest in the Malampaya gas project of Chevron Malampaya LLC Philippines, now known as UC 38 LLC, to UC Malampaya – an indirect subsidiary of Udenna Corporation.
At the onset of the Senate inquiry into the $565 million or more than P40 billion Chevron-UC Malampaya deal, DOE officials prescribed prior government approval as dictated by Presidential Decree No. 87 and Department Circular 2007-04-0003 on such transaction only to retract late last year after financial evaluation of UC Malampaya yielded the findings that it has a negative $137.2 million working capital or negative P6.9 billion.
As such, the Senate Energy Committee Chairperson said Cusi and his subordinates are liable for the following: gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct in evaluating and approving this transaction; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for knowingly approving the transfer of the 45% participating interest in SC 38 to UC Malampaya – an entity that is clearly not qualified, and in so doing providing an unwarranted benefit, advantage, or preference to UC Malampaya through manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence in evaluating and approving the deal.
If found guilty, they could face dismissal from public service, imprisonment of six years and one month to 15 years and perpetual disqualification from public office, Gatchalian said.
In the light of this incident, Gatchalian said amendments to strengthen PD 87 are in order and to also ensure that future service contractors and DOE officials will not repeat the same mistakes.
“The law is the law. Anyone who violates it must be punished to its full extent. I call on the proper authorities to promptly file administrative and criminal cases against Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who approved the deal, and other DOE officials who evaluated the Chevron-UC Malampaya deal and recommended its approval,” Gatchalian emphasized.
Malampaya powers more than four and a half million homes and businesses in Mega Manila alone. Six out of every ten light bulbs in Meralco’s franchise area are powered by Malampaya gas. It contributes almost 20 percent of the entire country’s power generation mix.