While Dennis Uy claims that Udenna Corp. Malampaya’s 2019 acquisition of the 45% share from Chevron (and another pending 45% from Shell Philippines Exploration) of the Malampaya were all done ‘legally’ in the hopes of prolonging the gas field’s operations, one cannot help but raise an eyebrow.
According to the Department of Energy’s Department Circular No. 2007, ‘’there is a need to rationalize transfers or assignments of rights and obligations in petroleum service contracts to ensure that the assignees or transferees possess the requisite financial capability, legal qualification and technical expertise, and experience to undertake obligations and commitments under such service contracts;’’.
How did UC Malampaya (a subsidiary of Udenna Corp.), a company which bought the Chevron shares mostly from loans and has no prior experience let alone expertise in handling gas fields, acquire 90% of Malampaya without much questioning from the government?
The recent spike in Filipino ratepayers’ electricity bills was due to the 20-day maintenance downtime of the gas platform. This further proves that this deal should be dealt with in the highest regard as it supplies 20% of the power consumed in the country. Should the Malampaya gas field fall on incompetent hands, the results will be drastic.
As the story unfolds, more and more people are airing their concerns regarding the sketchy transaction. From concerned citizens to lawyers and to senators calling out the current administration to thoroughly investigate the process that took place, Udenna Corp. is now under a magnifying glass.
But Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi is not happy to be in the spotlight. In fact, last Friday, he charged seven media outlets and several officials and reporters for their alleged “libellous attacks,” connecting to the controversy surrounding the Malampaya project.
The news organizations whose executives, editors and reporters are facing Cusi and Uy’s libel complaints are Philstar.com, ABS-CBN, Business Mirror, BusinessWorld, GMA News Online, Manila Bulletin and Rappler.
Cusi said that these charges were meant to “defend his family’s honour and to send a strong message that there is a fair and humane way to settle misunderstandings and differences without resorting to malicious news reporting.”
It is worth noting that DOE already admitted that it used an unaudited financial statement of Udenna Corp. as the government’s basis in evaluating the firm’s financial capacity.
The stories produced by the charged media outlets were all based on press conferences and press releases and they only reported the graft complaint, not accused him of graft.
It is clear that this move from Cusi is an attempt to discredit anyone who quoted their recent admission and to intimidate the media from further investigating documents used in the transaction.