Press Release
April 14, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas urged the government to disclose terms of sale of Aramco's 40% share of Petron Corp. to a London-based investment company known as Ashmore Group Ltd.

This, as he renewed his call for oil companies to open their books of account to show the public whether or not they have been exploiting world oil prices to amass unreasonable profits.

"Even before the government considers to sell its remaining 40% share in Petron, it must first disclose the terms of sale of Aramco's share to Ashmore, and its impact to our country's energy security," he said.

"Our government sold Petron to the Saudis because there was implied guaranteed access to oil. With Aramco's move to sell Petron to a London-based hedge fund, the oil company is now owned by a purely financial entity without access to crude," he added.

The senator said the DOE and PNOC should bear information relating to the new owner's plans, who gained commissions from the sale, and how its new owners, Ashmore Group LTD, plans to run the company.

"We need a thorough study on how this new arrangement would affect the energy security of our country. Will Ashmore split up the company separating the refining side from the distribution or retail end of the business? Will it still agree to provide discounts for our transport sector? Is it interested in re-investing funds to build up and strengthen Petron Corporation?" he said.

"Considering that its immediate dynamic is to obtain a quick return on investments, how then do we safeguard our national interest?" Roxas added.

Meanwhile, Roxas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, recalled that Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes promised the committee last month that they will examine the books of oil companies, but have yet to come up with a report.

"What has happened to the Energy Secretary's pledge to open the books of oil companies? The DoE signed a MOU with the oil companies and SGV as an auditing firm and the University of Asia and the Pacific to make a report on whether the price increases of these companies are justified. Since then, nothing has been heard of this report," the Liberal Party President said.

"Kung wala namang itinatago ang mga oil companies, wala silang dapat katakutan. Kung hindi nila pinagsasamantalahan ang ating mga tsuper at consumers sa gitna ng krisis, hayaan nilang bulatlatin ng publiko ang kanilang kita," he added.

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