PNOC-EC chief told to resign

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has asked the president and chief operating officer of the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration (PNOC-EC) to resign for “loss of confidence,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and concurrent presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said last night.

    He said the President’s order to Pedro A. Aquino Jr., Aquino, who is also a member of the PNOC-EC board, is part of the administration’s campaign against corruption.

    “The President’s order is still in line, and pursuant to his anti-corruption campaign in the government, and underscores once again that there are no sacred cows under this administration,” he said.

    “We reiterate the directive of the President to all officials and employees of the government to undertake actions which are only pursuant to what the law provides in the performance of their official functions and desist from committing any act that are — or may appear to be — irregular, illegal or dishonest,” he added.

    Reports said Aquino, who submitted his resignation letter on October 14, was y suspended by the board after approving a deal with a Russian firm on developing multilateral cooperation in oil products and trading, and participation on oil refinery projects in the Philippines, without the approval of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

    The deal reportedly pertained to the agreement signed by PNOC-EC in 2017 with Rosneft Oil Company, Russia’s leading company in the oil sector and largest global public oil and gas corporation.

    Rosneft, which is operating in more than 20 countries including China, the US, Canada, Indonesia, and Myanmar, focuses on exploration and appraisal of hydrocarbon fields, production of oil and gas, offshore field development, among others.

    During Duterte’s visit to Russia early this month, the President received in Moscow Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s CEO.

    Aquino was named PNOC-EC’s president and CEO in 2012. He served as senior vice president from 1993-2008.