Al Cusi, GMA’s son pushing to exempt PNOC’s spending from mandatory bidding, public scrutiny
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Al Cusi, GMA’s son pushing to exempt PNOC’s spending from mandatory bidding, public scrutiny

Congressman Lito Atienza is warning against a “powerful lobby” in Congress seeking to “unshackle” Philippine National Oil Co. from mandatory bidding rules and budget scrutiny from Congress.

Atienza warned that Energy Secretary Al Cusi and the son of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to amend PNOC’s charter could lead to the misuse of the state-owned firm’s multi-billion pesos funds.

In his House Bill No. 8762, Arroyo’s son, Congressman Mikey Arroyo, is pushing to remake PNOC from a “passive government-owned and controlled corportion” into a profit-seeking, fast-expanding entity similar to Petronas of Malyasa Petamina of Indonesia and PTT of Thailand.

The bill exempts PNOC from mandatory public bidding in the procurement of goods and services. It would also be exempted from submitting its annual budget to the Congress for approval. The bill proposes to establish a joint Senate and House petroleum oversight committee to monitor PNOC’s operations

We are gravely worried that freeing PNOC’s spending program from congressional scrutiny and allowing the company to conveniently negotiate the purchase of goods and services might lead to the potential misuse of energy funds in next year’s elections,” Atienza said.

“We are alarmed because PNOC is a cash-rich corporation attached to and run by the Department of Energy, and of all the Cabinet members, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi seems to be the one most keenly engaged in partisan political activities,” said Atienza citing Cusi’s position as vice chairman of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

The bill is currently under deliberation by the House committee on energy.

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