Pres. Duterte Admits Firing PNOC-EC Chief

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he had sacked Philippine National Oil Company – Exploration Corporation (PNPC-EC) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Pedro Aquino Jr.

Duterte made the admission when he attended the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel in Ermita, Manila on Thursday night.

Irked by the “idiotic” deal the PNOC-EC had entered into with Russian oil giant Rosneft Oil Company, the President said he asked Aquino to tender his resignation.

Duterte said he had discovered that Rosneft was left unaware of the supposed irregularities in the oil and gas development contract it signed with PNOC-EC in 2017.

“I just fired yesterday a subsidiary of PNOC. It’s a company. Here is a guy (Aquino) who prepared a contract with the Russians. Well, the Russians thought that was all there is to it,” he said.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced that Duterte had booted Aquino out of the PNOC-EC due to “loss of confidence”.

Aquino’s firing stemmed from the multilateral agreement on development of multilateral deal signed by the PNOC-EC, Rosneft, and Hong Kong-based firm Pionaire Finance Limited in June 2017.

The deal was supposed to develop multilateral cooperation on oil and products trading among the three signatories, but Duterte stressed that he could not accept that Aquino acted on his own without getting permission from the PNOC-EC Board.

Duterte said Aquino’s act was clearly opposed to the government’s rules and regulations.

“He wanted now the Board of Trustees to ratify what he prepared. Kaya sabi ko, ‘Adre, abugado ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘Yes.’ Sabi ko, ‘Anong kalokohan mo na baligtad? (So I told him, ‘Are you a lawyer?; He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘But it’s a stupid act when you took the wrong direction),” the President said.

“Instead of you na given the power to draft, to prepare, whatnot, and then after that have it approved by the Board of Directors? Baligtad ang gusto mo eh. Ikaw ang [gumawa ng] contract (You went to the opposite direction. You crafted the contract) and you want the Board of Directors to ratify your idiotic contract,” he said.

Earlier Thursday, Panelo said Rosneft has to forge a new contract with the Duterte administration, since its previous deal with the PNOC-EC to develop oil and gas resources in the Philippines was deemed invalid.

He noted that the Russian oil firm had already expressed intent to invest in the Philippines.

“Maganda nga ‘yung proposal pero hindi nasunod ‘yung stages of bidding and vetting (The proposal is good, but the stages of bidding and betting have not been followed). So they have to reapply to bid,” Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.

“They have to start from kung anong stage ang dapat na gawin nila. ‘Yun ang gagawin nila (They have to start from the first stage. That’s what they need to do),” he added. (PNA)

Photo Credit: facebook.com/pcoogov