By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Leila De Lima on Monday slammed the Department of Energy (DOE) for abruptly selling Malampaya controlling shares to Udenna, owned by Dennis Uy, a campaign financier of President Duterte.
In a statement, De Lima said that the sale of Malampaya to Udenna and UC Malampaya is not only replete with badges of irregularities, but it is also indicative of collusion prejudicial to the interests of the Filipino people.
She said that the 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.”
“DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi himself should explain why he is not recusing himself from this matter – the consolidation of Malampaya interests to Udenna and UC Malampaya – 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,” De Lima said.
“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.
Also, De Lima blasted Cusi for allowing UC Malampaya to take part in the service contract sale as it was only incorporated 18 days before the DOE announcement on the sale.
“Ang UC Malampaya ay na-incorporate lang noong Sept. 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!,” De Lima said.
“Dahil bagong gawa lang sila gaya ng Pharmally, wala rin silang karanasan o kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng Malampaya. Bukod dito kailangan pa nila utangin ang pambayad nila,” shevadded.
“Bakit natin papayagang mabenta ang isang importanteng proyekto sa isang kompanya na walang kakayahang magpatakbo ng Malampaya at walang pambayad?,” the lady senator asked.
“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 said.
De Lima said that 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.”
“Isa lamang ang pamantayan na dapat namamayani sa lahat ng ito: Artikulo XII, Seksyon 2 ng Konstitusyon, na nagsasabing ang lahat ng mga likas na kayamanan ay ari ng Estado. Maliban sa mga agricultural lands, hindi maaaring ilipat kanino man ang lahat ng mga likas na kayamanan. Dapat sumailalim sa ganap na kontrol at superbisyon ng Estado ang paggalugad, pagpapaunlad, at pagsasagamit ng mga likas na kayamanan,” De Lima explained.
The lawmaker also said that this is a transaction that will affect future generations of Filipinos. “We must act swiftly and decisively, lest we lose what rightfully belongs to our nation’s children.”
“Nararapat lamang na tandaan iyan ng mga matitigas ang ulo at makakapal ang mukhang nagsusulong isuko sa mga hindi karapat-dapat ang pamamahala sa Malampaya at kahit ano pang likas na Yaman ng Bayan,” she stressed.
“This is a time when “public service is a public trust” takes on one of its fullest and most literal meanings. In 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 ended. (ai/mtvn)