Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a cyber libel case against former Department of Energy (DOE) chief Alfonso Cusi over the statements he made amid the Senate Committee on Energy’s investigation of the controversial sale of the Malampaya Gas Field.
Filed before the Valenzuela City Prosecutor’s Office, Gatchalian said that Cusi’s official statement dated February 4, 2022 casts malice on the reputation and integrity of both him and the Senate Committee on Energy.
“Cusi’s statement is clearly defamatory and obviously intended to cause dishonor, discredit, or contempt not merely of my position as a Senator of the Republic but more importantly of my integrity as a public servant,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Back in February, Gatchalian called for the resignation Cusi and other DOE officials for “railroading” the sale of Chevron’s 45% stake in the Malampaya. The senator also recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the energy officials.
“A simple reading of Cusi’s statement shows that he characterizes the conduct of the Senate investigation as being tainted with bad faith for being highly irregular and politicized,” Gatchalian added.
Cusi released a statement right after Gatchalian’s privilege speech, saying “it is evident that the hearings were merely intended to force me out of office in order to frustrate and invalidate what are legally binding transactions involving ownership of shares of Malampaya contractors.”
“It is unfortunate that, in the course of the Committee hearings, Senator Gatchalian had chosen to lend his ear to those adversarial business interests. It was obvious in these hearings that Senator Gatchalian has sought to undermine the DOE’s ability to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the proposal covering the said sale of shares,” Cusi said in the February 4 statement posted on the DOE website.
Gatchalian chaired the Senate Committee on Energy during the 18th Congress where he led the investigation on the sale of the majority stake of Malampaya.