Cusi files libel charges over Malampaya sale

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Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi has filed libel charges against executives and reporters of seven major media entities in connection with the sale of the Malampaya gas field to Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation.

Libel charges were filed in particular against BusinessMirror, BusinessWorld, and Rappler. Cyberlibel charges, meanwhile, were filed against, GMA News Online, Manila Bulletin, as well as BusinessMirror and BusinessWorld.

“I firmly believe that there are a good number of people who have agreed to faithfully serve our countrymen. [They] are honorable well-meaning, and, at the expense of their personal lives and fortunes, remain dedicated public servants. They do not deserve to be maligned, viciously accused of wrongdoing and favoritism, and attacked with unfair and baseless charges of corruption,” Cusi said in a statement.

“I am filing these cases to protect their integrity, to support and honor them, to defend my family’s honor, 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,” he added.

In a message to Power Philippines, Cusi’s lawyer Atty. Ruy Rondain said the cases were filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Taguig City for “false statements” regarding the said sale.

Critics, including Senate energy committee chairman Sherwin Gatchalian and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), have been calling on the Department of Energy to revoke Chevron’s sale of its 45% stake in Malampaya to Udenna, which it approved last April. The IBP also asked the DOE to “hold in abeyance” the sale of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.’s 45%, also to Udenna. The DOE said it won’t rescind the Chevron-Udenna deal.

Cusi and Udenna owner Dennis Uy are facing graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.