Debates over Malampaya caused recall bid | Inquirer News

Debates over Malampaya caused recall bid

By: - Correspondent / @demptoanda
/ 09:35 PM September 16, 2011

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Bitter debates among local political personalities over the use of the Malampaya royalty money for Palawan triggered the recall bid against Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra.

Caesar Ventura, former provincial budget officer and head of the nongovernment organization lobby group Kilusang Love Malampaya (KLM), said they were dismayed by their failure to find common grounds with the first term governor over how billions of pesos in projected royalties for the Malampaya gas project should be spent for Palawan.

“We were disappointed that he (Mitra) had not budged on his insistence to our demand that the Malampaya money should be used according to what is in the law, that a significant portion of this amount should be used to alleviate our energy situation,” Ventura said in a press conference here Friday which followed the formal filing of a recall petition against Mitra.


Capitol had been trying to secure a new agreement with Malacañang that will give Mitra supervision over a proposed P14-billion package of mostly infrastructure projects under a new interim arrangement.


This effort was being made by Capitol while the Supreme Court has yet to issue a ruling on whether the province can claim a legal share equivalent to 40 percent of the total royalty paid by the Malampaya consortium operating the country’s single biggest natural gas extraction project.

KLM had been critical of a previous interim agreement between then Gov. Joel Reyes and the Department of Energy under the Arroyo administration that allowed Reyes and Mitra, then congressman of Palawan’s southern district, to directly utilize some P3.2 billion in financial assistance in the form of pork barrel allocations.

Ventura claimed his group tried but failed to convince Mitra “to be transparent” in how Capitol would spend new monies from Malampaya.

“There was never any change on how they wanted to distribute the P14-billion package that they were seeking from Malacañang,” he said.

Ventura also pointed out that their recall effort was a continuation of the advocacy pursued by one of their key members, radio broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega, who was murdered early this year reportedly because of, among other issues, his consistent tirade on the Malampaya fund anomaly.

“Doc Gerry was killed because of the Malampaya royalty issue,” Ventura alleged.


Mitra vowed to meet the recall bid head on and insisted that the recall petition was motivated by partisan political interests.

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TAGS: Malampaya, Oil, Palawan, Politics, Royalty

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