Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said he was offered P50 million for state-run PNOC Exploration Corp. to match the offer of Udenna Group to acquire the 45-percent stake of Chevron Philippines in the Malampaya gas project.
Cusi said in an interview with ANC that “it’s not fair to say we are favoring Udenna.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) has already approved the sale of Chevron’s stake in service contract 38 to Udenna led by businessman Dennis Uy but senators questioned the technical, financial, and legal capability of the buyer.
“When this transaction was being negotiated, when Udenna bought this, there was a company who wanted to buy it and failed to acquire it. What did this company do?” the energy chief said.
Cusi said the person came to his office trying to say, “I will fund the PNOC requirement to match the Udenna offer to get Chevron and you deliver it to me.”
Cusi said DOE did not agree, saying “we cannot do that” and that they might go to jail for it. “In fact, [they] offered P50 million to do that,” he said.
“They offered to the company, for PNOC EC to match it and turn around and give it to them,” he said.
Cusi declined to name the company. “Let them come out if they want to,” he said.
Cusi and Uy are facing graft charges over the allegedly anomalous sale of shares of the Malampaya gas-to-power project.
The complainants, Balgamel de Belen Domingo and Rodel Rodis and Loida Nicolas Lewis – both based in the United States, filed the complaint with the Ombudsman in Iloilo City through their lawyer Rico Domingo.
Aside from Uy, included in the complaint were former and current officials of PNOC-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) as well as officials of Chevron Philippines.
The complainants claimed Cusi and the other respondents conspired to give “unwarranted benefits and advantage” to Uy’s Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary, UC Malampaya, in the sale of Chevron’s share and transfer of rights in the Malampaya project.
Cusi earlier said he is ready to answer the charges leveled against him.
“I have no doubt the truth will vindicate me and the innocent people dragged into this purported action obviously filed for the singular purpose of political propaganda,” he said.
“Those who reportedly filed this unwarranted action want to present themselves as patriots when the truth is they are not even residing in the country. They would want to dictate government policy while living comfortably abroad. I say let them come here, so they can be within reach of our justice system when we get to establish that they are guilty of perjury,” he added.
“Clearly, this is harassment, but it comes with the territory, so we will just address it at the proper forum where it was filed,” Cusi said.