President Rodrigo Duterte said he views with “grave concern” the attempt of the Senate to put into bad light the deal involving the Malampaya Gas Field,which is now 90-percent owned by Filipino firm Udenna Corporation (UC).
A Senate resolution, penned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, recommends the filing of criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission against Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other DOE officials for approving and recommending approval of the Chevron Philippines-UC Malampaya transaction.
“This casts undue, undeserved, and unwarranted aspersion on the part of some of our key government officials. This is grossly unfair to them and to the public,” Duterte said.
“The government values the critical role and contribution of the Malampaya Gas Field to energy security. I will not allow this valuable resource to be jeopardized and embroiled in the political antics of some members of the Senate,” he added.
The president said he had seen the report on the sale and purchase of the stocks of Chevron Malampaya LLC to Udenna and is convinced the transaction was between private entities that must be respected. Hence, the national interest has been protected and the rights of the government remain intact.
Chevron Malampaya and and Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) previously held a 45-percent interest each in the Malampaya Gas Field located off Palawan. Duterte stressed that the country needs private investments for the economy to thrive.
“I will make it clear once more: investments, foreign and local, are vital to our economy. We compete for them with other countries, and our ability to do so requires me to create and maintain an environment conducive to the entry of investors,” Duterte said.
The president also defended Cusi.
“Let me reiterate: Energy Secretary Cusi has my full trust and confidence and shall remain at the helm of the department he heads,” Duterte said.