Filipino American leaders sue Chevron over gas field deal in West Philippine Sea
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
New York City — Filipino American leaders from New York, Washington DC, California and the Northern Marianas today filed a complaint in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Chevron for graft and corruption involving its transfer of interest in the Malampaya gas field to Udenna Corp.’s UC Malampaya subsidiary in March 2020.
Two of the complainants, Loida Lewis and Rodel Rodis, also filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines against Chevron Philippines officials, Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, and businessman Dennis Uy, CEO of Udenna Corp., last Oct. 2 for violation of anti-graft and corrupt practices act.
The SEC complaint was signed by eight Filipino American leaders from across the US, namely: Loida Nicolas Lewis, Arthur Medel, Rodel Rodis, Rocio Nuyda, Celia Lamkin, Eric Lachica, Ago Pedalizo and Art Garcia.
Named respondents in the complaint were Chevron, through its subsidiaries Chevron Philippines and Chevron Malampaya, together with PNOC-Exploration Corp. Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary UC Malampaya and all individuals named as respondents.
The complaint alleged that the respondents committed "multiple misrepresentations and concealments to interested shareholders ... in facilitating and allowing for the transfer of Chevron Malampaya's interest in a service contract."
The complainants also alleged that Cusi and other respondents conspired to give unwarranted benefits and advantage to Uy’s Udenna and UC Malampaya, “causing undue injury leading to a minimum of over P21 to 42 billion in total losses to the Philippine government.”
According to the complainants, the questionable transaction also violates Malampaya’s service contract executed pursuant to PD No. 87 which requires prior approval of the Department of Energy in the transfer and assignment of contractual rights and obligations.
“The assets in Malampaya belong to the Filipino people, and we hope our leaders will do their best to protect it for future generations,” said California-based lawyer Rodel Rodis, who is also the president of US Pinoys for Good Governance.
Quoting an article by Cliff Venzon (published by Nikkei Asia on Jan. 7, 2022), Rodis emphasized that the CEO of Udenna Corporation, Dennis Uy, is “one of the major financiers to Duterte's national campaign in 2016. Under Duterte's presidency, Uy conducted an acquisition spree that stunned Manila's commercial elite.
"The tycoon previously talked with China National Offshore Oil Corp. for a liquefied natural gas venture, although that plan was dropped in late 2019 as Uy’s group focused on buying Chevron’s Malampaya stake.”
Uy’s connection with Chinese companies is being questioned by opponents of the allegedly anomalous deal, who fear that Beijing might be using the Davao-based businessman to get into the West Philippine Sea.
On Feb. 4, a Philippine Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who heads the Senate committee on energy, transmitted to the Ombudsman a Senate resolution and call to file criminal and administrative charges against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other officials over the allegedly anomalous Malampaya deal.
In a press statement, SGatchalian said in “railroading the approval of the sale of the participating interest of Chevron in Malampaya gas field, key officials of the Department of Energy led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi are criminally and administratively liable for graft, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct and should immediately resign from their posts.”