Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima maintained that Filipinos should never entrust the Malampaya gas project to Udenna Corp. and its unit UC Malampaya Philippines, owned by businessman and Mr. Duterte’s close associate, Dennis Uy.
Aside from being repleted with badges of irregularities, De Lima said the sale of Malampaya to Udenna and UC Malampaya is indicative of a collusion prejudicial to the interests of the Filipino people.
“That Malampaya is crucial to our national interest is an understatement. Our country relies heavily on the energy production of Malampaya as well as the revenue it generates. Equally as important is its location in the West Philippine Sea where China is slowly creeping into our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone,” she said.
“There is absolutely no reason why we should entrust Malampaya to Udenna and UC Malampaya. They have neither the resources nor expertise to run the operation and conduct further exploration.
“And worse, they have a history of partnering up with China owned companies who continue to dispute our legally-established rights over the West Philippine Sea,” she added.
It can be noted that on Oct. 25, 2019, UC Malampaya Philippines signed a sale and purchase agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Chevron Malampaya LLC. Chevron Malampaya, a subsidiary of Chevron Philippines, Ltd., held a 45% non-operating interest in the gas field.
The Chevron deal was approved by Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi on March 26, 2021.
De Lima said Cusi should explain why he is not recusing himself from the matter involving the consolidation of Malampaya interests to Udenna and UC Malampaya, which was aptly described by retired SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as the “biggest presidential gift to a crony.”
“Cusi had a prior transaction with Dennis Uy that made him a billionaire overnight. Noong 2017, binenta ni Cusi yung kompaniya niyang Starlite Ferries sa Chelsea Logistics ni Dennis Uy kung saan naging 1.6 bilyong piso ang naging net worth niya mula sa 163 milyon noong 2016,” she said.
“Ang UC Malampaya ay na-incorporate lang noong September 1, 2019, 18 days bago inanunsyo ng DOE na hindi na ire-renew yung service contract ng mga sellers na Chevron at Shell. Saktong nabuo sila noong may pagkakataong mabili ang interest ng Chevron at Shell. Convenient!” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol said Filipinos should never tolerate the irregular transaction that will surely affect future generations.
“Dahil bagong gawa lang sila gaya ng Pharmally, wala rin silang karanasan ni kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng Malampaya. Bukod dito kailangan pa nila utangin ang pambayad nila,” she said.
“Paano kung sa best friend nilang China sila umutang at gawing collateral yung kanilang interes sa Malampaya? Parang binigay lang natin ang kontrol ng Malampaya sa kanila,” she added.
Recently, PNOC-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) has reportedly withheld its consent on the sale of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.’s (SPEX) 45% interest in the Malampaya gas-to-power project to Udenna Corporation unit Malampaya Energy XP.
The Shell-Udenna transaction, which took place in May and was targeted for completion by the end of the year, sparked controversy as Davao-based Udenna would attain 90% control of Malampaya should the Department of Energy approve it.
“These coming elections, one question should be running through the minds of voters: who do I trust with our most precious resources and our children’s future? Alam naman na ng taumbayan kung sino iyon. Iyong laging pinipili ang Bayang Pilipinas,” De Lima stressed. (30)