Archive for May 13, 2008

OLIGARCHIC CRIMES GO UNPUNISHED: LOPEZES OF MANILA

May 13, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Oligarchic crimes go unpunished. This is the true, said, Dostoevskian situation of the ‘morality grid’ of the planet. The oligarchs who may possess a ‘bleeding- heart’ psyche, if ever, are too few in numbers.  

Moral philosophies including the new-hype Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR are only mere ideological trappings in the oligarchic games. Take off these trappings and you have the real score: demonic greed, manipulative control of humans, conceit, and every corporate Machiavellianism one can think of. Those genuine Light-centered, Spirit-filled CSR philantrophists are still undergoing construction or breeding.

Take the case of Manila’s Lopez family that owns the MERALCO, the gigantic utility firm that is into both power generation and distribution. As found out by fact-finding investigations, the MERALCO has been looting the consumers by passing on to them the costs of both power generation and distribution, through price increases in monthly bills.

The Supreme Court later took such facts as basis for arriving at a decision that ordered the MERALCO to return to the consumers the unjust price increases imposed on the bills. Public interest groups took the cudgels for the consumers, thanks to a dynamic civil society here that includes lawyers’ and consumers’ groups.

True, MERALCO obliged, and gradually returned the funds stolen from the people’s pockets. But the question is, was there any member of the Lopez family or the MERALCO executives who was ever jailed at all for the crime? None!

Now the MERALCO looting is coming out in the open, and there’s the reportage of the gentleman, Mr. Garcia, chair of the state pension fund GSIS (which partly owns MERALCO), about an amount of P500 Million in power generation costs that were supposedly passed on by the Lopez firm to the consumers. The issue is now raging here.

What I forecast is that the divestment of Lopezes from MERALCO and the full entry of GSIS as new majority stocks owners will be ensued. That just the same no one among the Lopezes or MERALCO executives will go to jail. That the Lopezes will even gain money from the ‘sweetheart deal’ (worth $1.25 Billion) that is being negotiated with the GSIS for the MERALCO purchase.

This same narrative goes on everywhere in the planet, everywhere! Save for the Enron scandal that ended with certain oligarchic execs going to jail, criminal oligarchs go unpunished.

Oligarchs are above the Law. They are Olympians, sons and daughters of Zeus, beyond litigation and punishment.  

[Writ 13 May 2008, Quezon City, Manila]