Cusi says rap may be politically motivated
MANILA - A graft complaint was filed before the Ombudsman on Monday against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, billionaire Dennis Uy and several others over the sale of Chevron’s stake in the Malampaya project to the Davao-based businessman’s Udenna Corp.
The complainants, Balgamel de Belen Domingo, Rodel Rodis, and Loida Nicolas Lewis, said they were “concerned citizens who advocate for the Filipino people’s right to energy security.”
They alleged that anomalies in the Malampaya Project resulted “to a minimum of over P21 to 42 billion in total losses to the government.”
Cusi and other respondents, the complainants said, conspired to give unwarranted benefits and advantage to Uy’s Udenna Corp in the sale of Chevron’s share and transfer of rights in the Malampaya Project.
This resulted in “undue injury to the Government”, they said.
In March last year, Uy’s Udenna completed its acquisition of Chevron’s 45 percent stake in Malampaya gas project, which supplies fuel to power plants that generate up to 40 percent of Luzon’s energy requirements.
Earlier this year, Udenna upped its stake in Malampaya to 90 percent by buying Shell’s 45 percent stake in the company. The state-owned Philippine National Oil Company owns the remaining 10 percent.
Udenna’s acquisition of both Chevron’s and Shell’s stakes in Malampaya, however, were both questioned in the Senate.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, early this month said the DOE "bent rules" to approve Udenna’s acquisition of Chevron’s Malampaya stake.
This prompted Cusi to say that the sale was not a "midnight deal" as the DOE "went beyond" in checking both firms' books.
Udenna’s purchase of Shell’s Malampaya stake also faced scrutiny.
Gatchalian said the Dennis Uy-led firm had no known technical expertise to operate the multibillion-dollar deep water gas-to-power project.
In the complaint filed on Monday, the complainants said Cusi reneged on his duty and committed gross inexcusable negligence when he failed to intervene in the transaction of Chevron and Udenna which was done without DOE’s prior approval, and when he failed to exercise the government’s right to purchase Chevron’s Malampaya shares.
The DOE, meanwhile, said the “case is speculative, without basis and malicious.”
The agency maintained that the deal was above-board and that Cusi is ready to answer all allegations “in any forum to bring out the truth and carry the ends of justice.”
Udenna said it has yet to receive the "supposed complaint" filed against its officials.
"At the proper time and venue, we will address all allegations raised against the company to prove that everything is done above-board," the company said in a statement.
The Uy-led firm also maintained that the Chevron deal was above board.