Leni: Pinoys Should Be Vigilant Over Malampaya Buyout
Vice President Leni Robredo said like the government, Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy also has no money to acquire 90% of Malampaya gas field but was able to borrow.
Vice President Leni Robredo said Filipinos should be vigilant over Udenna Corp.’s questionable Malampaya buyout, stressing the natural gas field located off the coast of Palawan is a critical energy source in the country.
Udenna, owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, an ally and campaign donor of President Duterte, acquired at least 90% of Malampaya through deals with Chevron and Shell.
Udenna purchased Chevron’s 45% share for $565 million and Shell’s 45% stake for $460 million, for a total of $1.025 billion.
“I personally find the award questionable and Filipinos should pursue why this happened because much is at stake for us,” Robredo said in Filipino in a radio interview on Monday, Nov. 22.
“Now that they’re giving it up, it should have been the government who bought in. Government is saying it has no money, but when we look at Uy’s company, it also has no money but was able to borrow,” she said.
The Vice President said the government should be aggressive in protecting the natural gas field and get loans, like Uy, to fund acquisition deals for the majority stake in Malampaya.
“But his borrowings get sufficient returns because of the daily income. So for me, why can’t government borrow to purchase – if private can take out a loan how much more government,” Robredo added.
Several business groups said “the government should scrutinize the buyer’s financial and technical capabilities and interests and should reserve, enforce and exercise its right to block and invalidate transfers of shares and control that may be disadvantageous to the Filipino people.”
Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice President is investigating the fake grocery orders worth P100,000 delivered to Robredo’s office on Monday.
Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez said the OVP got the number of a poser who made the order.
The order was cancelled and the items were returned.