THE Supreme Court (SC) yesterday thumbed down the Palawan provincial government’s P120-billion claim as its supposed share from government revenues in the Malampaya gas project.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak, a source disclosed that the SC decided to junk for lack of merit the consolidated petitions by Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Dulay Arigo, Dr. Jose Antonio N. Socrates, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Cesar Sarino, and the Kilusan Love Malampaya (KLM) led by former presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
The magistrates voted unanimously to reject the claim of the Palawan government for 40-percent share in the royalties delivered by Shell Philippines Exploration BV, which operates the gas-to-gas power project.
The SC held that the provincial government is not entitled to any portion of the royalties from the gas project that started operating in 2001.
It ruled that the 60-40 sharing scheme between the national and local governments as provided by the Local Government Code cannot apply in the Malampaya gas project.
The petitions were filed as early as 2002 after the national government, headed then by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, refused to give Palawan’s share from the gross proceeds, claiming the Malampaya gas project was not within the territorial waters of any municipality in the province.
The petitioners argued that denying “that Palawan possesses a Continental Shelf and that the Camago-Malampaya fields are a natural prolongation of Palawan’s landmass is to bargain away the Filipino people’s rightful claim to the rich marine resources in the region.”