Duterte slams sacked PNOC-EC chief over contract with Russian firm

Duterte said he fired Pedro Aquino Jr., former president and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Co. Exploration Corp. over a questionable deal involving a Russian firm. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo/file

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he fired the president and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corp., Pedro Aquino Jr., over a questionable deal involving a Russian firm.

Speaking at a business forum, Duterte questioned Aquino for supposedly misleading foreign investors.

“I just fired yesterday a subsidiary of PNOC. It’s a company. Here is a guy who prepared a contract with the Russians and the Russians thought this was all there is to this. He wanted now the board of trustees to ratify what he prepared,” Duterte said.

“Sabi ko, ‘Abogado ka. Anong kalokohan mo na baliktad? Given the power to draft, to prepare, whatnot, and then after that have it approved by the board of directors. Baliktad ang gusto mo,’ ” the President added.

Aquino’s exit from the PNOC-EC comes just weeks after Duterte’s trip to Russia, where the chief executive asked Moscow’s top oil producer Rosneft to invest in the Philippines.

Aquino on Tuesday told ABS-CBN News that he was asked by Duterte to submit a resignation letter effective Monday, Oct. 14. He did not elaborate.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said Duterte asked Aquino to resign “for loss of confidence.”

“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,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

A Manila Bulletin report last week said Aquino was slapped a 30-day suspension by the board of directors of the PNOC-EC over a reported investment deal with Rosneft.

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