OLIGARCHIC CRIMES GO UNPUNISHED: LOPEZES OF MANILA


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]

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4 Comments on “OLIGARCHIC CRIMES GO UNPUNISHED: LOPEZES OF MANILA”


  1. Meralco is unworthy of our trust. Consider these:

    1. Consumers in Metro Manila have been shouldering the Manila Electric Co.’s costs of doing business—including its own power consumption of 71 million kilowatt hours, or about P500 million a year.

    2. Meralco buys a good portion of its power from two sister companies, which charge more than the National Power Corp. does. These high costs are again passed on to consumers, while the Lopez-owned companies pocket the higher profits.

    3. Eight top executives of the power distribution company will be paid P97 million this year, while the officers and directors as a group will get P170 million. This seems rather extravagant in a company that has 4,000 supervisors for 3,000 rank-and-file workers.

    4. Meralco also wants its customers to shoulder its bad debts worth P14 billion.

  2. erleargonza Says:

    By golly the debts are much more than the reported P500 million thing. Thanks kabayan for your informative inputs. I’d appreciate additional inputs about the matter, uploaded directly into this ‘comment’ window of this article.

  3. ordinaryreportage Says:

    I agree. I was so disgusted reading the Inquirer editorial that seemed to say that “ganging up” on the Lopezes is equal to “losing democracy”. SINCE when did the personal contentment of the Lopez family mean the presence of democracy?


  4. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!


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