Senate adopts reso seeking raps vs Cusi, other execs over Malampaya deal
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution seeking charges against Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other officials over the approval of the sale of a majority stake in the Malampaya gas field.
During its plenary session, the Senate adopted a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate to file the appropriate criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission against Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other Department of Energy officials for approving and recommending approval of the Chevron Philippines-UC Malampaya transaction contrary to law and regulation.”
The resolution was proposed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee and has led hearings into the Malampaya deal. The filing of charges, Gatchalian said, would give involved individuals a chance to “defend themselves in the proper venue.”
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Francis Tolentino abstained from voting on the resolution.
Before this, Gatchalian delivered a privilege speech, accusing Cusi and other key DOE officials of being “criminally and administratively liable for graft, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct” for “railroading” the approval of the sale of the participating interest of Chevron in Malampaya gas field.
“I call on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission 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 said.
“If convicted, they could face between face six years and one month to 15 years of imprisonment, and perpetual disqualification from public office,” he added.
Likewise, the senator called on the DOE officials to immediately resign from their post.
Gatchalian alleged that the DOE officials went against laws in order to give their approval to the sale of the 45 percent 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.
The senator said the DOE officials prescribed prior government approval as dictated by Presidential Decree No. 87 and Department Circular 2007-04-0003 on such a transaction only to retract late last year after financial evaluation of UC Malampaya found that it has “negative $137.2 million” working capital.
“It is immediately apparent that the Udenna subsidiary is financially unqualified because it has negative working capital,” he added.
“However, instead of disapproving the transaction as it should have, DOE bent over backwards to find a way to approve the transfer to UC Malampaya—an entity it already knew was financially unqualified based on the agency’s own standards,” Gatchalian said in his speech.
The DOE, for its part, has maintained that the Malampaya sale to the Udenna subsidiary is “above board.”
Cusi also earlier branded as “harassment” and “political propaganda” graft charges earlier filed against him and several others over the sale of shares in the Malampaya gas field.
“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,” Cusi earlier said.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to Cusi for comment on the adopted resolution but has yet to receive a response as of writing.
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