Erle Frayne  Argonza

The politico-economic structure of Philippine reality never seems to change at all. It’s still the oligarchic system that lingers here, as it is anywhere in the planet. Oligarchs are simply in control of every strategic sector of life, both economic and political.

That’s why they are above the Law, that they can pay anything worth their pockets to meet their objectives, bribe their way to continuing hoarding and accumulation way beyond their daily needs. The Law adjusts to them, not them to the Law.

Take the case of the long-time Marcos crony Lucio Tan. Tan is almost everywhere in Philippine business life, name it and he’s there. The once state champion Philippine National Bank is in his control now, and so the former state champion Philippine Airlines. And his business concerns continue to expand, both here and overseas.

But one thing glaring about his behavior is his non-payment of taxes that date back to the 80s yet or maybe even earlier. The consummate tax evader, he is the exemplar in this regard here in Manila.

As of last year, estimates put his back tax arrears at P26 Billion. If all we know, this could be an underestimation. This could just be but the top of the iceberg, the real back taxes running probably in the hundreds of billions of pesos. We can’t say anymore. That is because documents can be doctored, and there are always ‘doctor of forgery’ everywhere including the state bureaucracy.

Perhaps we may have discovered, in the criminal behavior of oligarchs, a new universal law, the “law of the bending of the Law.” It’s like the pattern about the ‘bending of light’, this time we substitute Law for light.

Which means that Law is relative, or is of no value to oligarchs save that they serve oligarchic interests. This is true everywhere, and it won’t be long when even those colonies to be installed in other planets and the moon will face the same reality: the ‘bending of the Law’ to make oligarchs happy.

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  1. […] Raymund Villanueva wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptErle Frayne  Argonza The politico-economic structure of Philippine reality never seems to change at all. It’s still the oligarchic system that lingers here, as it is anywhere in the planet. Oligarchs are simply in control of every strategic sector of life, both economic and political. That’s why they are above the Law, that they can pay anything worth their pockets to meet their objectives, bribe their way to continuing hoarding and accumulation way beyond their daily needs. The Law adjusts to them, not them to the Law. Take the case of the long-time Marcos crony Lucio Tan. Tan is almost everywhere in Philippine business life, name it and he’s there. The once state champion Philippine National Bank is in his control now, and so the former state champion Philippine Airlines. And his business concerns continue to expand, both here and overseas. But one thing glaring about his behavior is his non-payment […] […]

  2. erleargonza Says:

    Hi Raymund! Thanks for expressing interest in this oligarchic article. It seems the planet is going to have a long way yet to be able to control if not eliminate oligarchs. When oligarchism permeates every aspect of life, society and state will degenerate rapidly towards a ‘derk age’. We seem to be in this age now.

  3. Centurio Parko Says:

    Lucio Tan, the low-born, China-born phoney philantropist businessman is the Yellow Economic Lucifer in the Filipino land. He should have been strapped in an electrice chair to rock-n-roast. He has done so much damage to the said land and its inhaitants.

  4. erleargonza Says:

    Centurio Parko’s comment is bitterly anti-pathetic, very strongly worded. I guess this is what oligarchs get for their insidiously evil acts. The commentary is welcome.

  5. centurioparko Says:

    Lucio Tan, the Yellow Economic Lucifer on the Rampage in the Filipino Land

    (Unsolicited “addendum” to Newsbreak October 9, 2006 Issue re Deadly Industry article)

    Concerned government officials and politicians are made blind by Lucifer Effect. Company financial statements are public records at the BIR and SEC. One can readily check on these records that Lucio Tan, the China-born economic Lucifer of the Philippines, with the administrative case of his P26 billion tax evasion case crawling at a snail pace in the courts, is still cheating more than a hundred billion of taxes year after year. In 2005, to cite a case, Philip Morris had sales revenues of P28.9 billion. Tan’s Fortune Tobacco had a lower at P26.5 billion despite his command of no less than 70% of the cigarette market. Considering the “sin” tax slapped on tobacco products, which is about half of their selling price, and considering Philip Morris, sales revenue as benchmark, though it might also have been shaved to a certain extent, many billions of taxes had been cheated by him in that year through his cigarette company alone. Blinds are officials in almost every corner of the Philippine government to keep this Yellow Economic Lucifer go on with his plunder.

    It is noteworthy that in today’s money, the P26 billion in Tan’s tax evasion case is now worth at least P80 billion already. It is noteworthy also that 15 years ago, the VP for Sales of Fortune Tobacco, a shareholder and a confidant of Lucio, often rejoiced to his trusted people that their monthly sales revenue ran at about P9.5 billion, translating into a yearly P114 billion in those period. Cigarette prices have doubled since then.

    In 2003, Tan did not buy tobacco produce of the north. His tobacco people merely relayed to the traders high inventory on hand as the reason. No concerned government official, especially the politicians in the tobacco producing provinces and NTA officials, ever voiced disapproval of this arbitrary move to protect the multitude of affected farmers and their dependents, including its adverse impact on the economy. Their muteness suggested them all to be in Tan’s payroll. In reality with said tobacco embargo, he brought in tobaccos from China to please its rulers as a “patriotic” hoa-chiao. He needed to so that when reckoning time catches on him, China would welcome him as his sanctuary. Until now, he still gets tobacco from his native land at the expense of the land that adopted him. The next question that matters gravely is if these tobaccos are duly paid with customs duties. Knowing him to have started his plundering career by smuggling varied things before he was able to ingratiate himself into the late dictator’s portfolio of cronies, the answer should be a big no. Ex-BoC Chief Salvador Mison, who is now among his ex-military general scarecrows, should know.

    Trickles of Tan’s tax cheated billions are used to control media concerns. Multi-million ad placements are given to those that toe his line, not to give him bad press lest they would lose millions of revenues. Broadcast commentators and talk show hosts and newspaper and magazine columnists are in his generous payroll for the same reason, like the corrupt politicians, judges, justices and other government officials concerned in his enterprise of economic plunder in his pocket. Huge bonuses are given them when “service” done was for a great concern of this Yellow Economic Lucifer. A recent case was the dismissal of his criminal liability regarding his P26 billion tax evasion case by Marikia MTC Judge Alex Ruiz. Ms. Solita Monsod, the only journalist, economist and public figure who appears a true nationalist, aptly commented the decision in her PDI Get Real column of October 14, 2006 as “incredible logic.” It suggested Ruiz a rotten judge to make Judge Roy Bean of the Wild West a man of honour if compared.

    Ruiz’ dismissal of Tan et al’s criminal liability in his P26 billion tax case is an immortal joke. But at a price of many millions to save thisYellow Economic Lucifer from going to a barred hell, the corrupt judge could commit professional suicide. Never in his life time could he have gained such bounty with countless zeros if he had not played fool for this Yellow Economic Lucifer. He even “agreed” with Tan and Estelito Mendoza that the 8 dummy marketing companies in the tax case were not dummies because the incorporators and officers of which were Tan’s ex-employees. He did not check the ITRs of these persons if the companies with their names put in as incorporators and officers were declared therein for their earnings. If he did so, he would have found out that Tan and Mendoza had committed perjury. It would have revealed that most of these dummy officers were under the employ of Tan’s companies, in his legitimate companies; in the dummy companies that replaced the court cased dummy companies; or in the dummy companies of his other “sin” companies. On this matter, the “honourable” public servants in the Cabinet of Malacanang, in both houses of Congress and onther politicians never wagged their tongue, to give a howl of protest, or even a shout of praise if they thought the decision to be correct. Guilt and duty to Lucifer Effect must have made their tongue roasted.

    It is clear that Lucio Tan has grown into a puppeteering economic monster, monster who made his creator Ferdinand a Dr. Frankeinstein. This Chinaman is worst economic plunderer in making the public servants his servants. He is now on a spree of buying honoris causa PhDs at a cost of P20 million each as “donation” to the bestowing universities provided advertised as ab “act of philanthropy.” Anybody can smell it as a desperate perfumery to cover his stinking filth.

    The Filipino race is in yellow economic peril for many years more to come. All politicians, public officials and media concerns seem all “tan-ned,” puppeteered to deprive justice to their own blood, the Filipino blood, just like Jose Bunag, the Tan-man taxman, for detaching himself from Tan’s P26 billion tax rap, obviously to help rogue Ruiz do his “tan-ned” duty, compelling state witness Danilo Lihaylihay to sue him for dereliction of duty.

  6. centurioparko Says:

    Lucio Tan, the Cancer Maker in the Filipino Land, Heads Clean Air Drive?

    Reaction to the Philippine Star January 2, 2008 full-page ad of Lucio Tan as bogus environmentalist.

    Lucio Tan, the Yellow Economic Lucifer and Cancer and Cirrhosis Maker, Air and River Polluter in the Filipino Land, Heads Drive for Clean Air?

    To let the world know that he is a man of honourable and noble purposes, not the Yellow Economic Lucifer he really is in the country that gave him refuge when he was an urchin, the China-born Number One Salot ng Bayan, Lucio Tan, the collector of honoris causa doctorate degrees, buying each at a cost of multi-million pesos provided advertised as a philanthropic school “donation,” is in desperate upswing of publicity stunt.

    The on-going forfeiture case of PCGG against his 9 major tax-cheating and ill-gotten companies, with the backing of the Marcos heirs’ evidences and testimonies, to include the testimony of ex-PCGG Chief and former Senator Jovito Salonga for the government, and the announced coming out of ex-SolGen Frank Chavez to do the same, that the late strongman Ferdinand, his Dr. Frankenstein, has substantial shares in them, must be causing him sleepless nights to become desperate and panicky. His rotten image becomes more rotten because he is not only known now as the most rotten tax evader cum smuggler in the country, but also as an ingrate and covetous economic criminal who can even bite the hand of his master. He badly needs publicity cosmetics to mask his rotten image, thus the publication of his pictorial book portraying him a “good” husband and honest yellow Cinderella businessman, minus, of course, the realities in his life, like as the employee of Bataan Cigar and Cigarette robbing blind his uncle owner, the old Cheng Ka-Chiong, who took him in his hours of need; the buyer of the same factory when he was made rich by becoming a Marcos crony and had it burned for big insurance money; the smuggler of Ban-Lon shirts and socks and transistor radios when still starting his economic crookedness; and the sexual pervert for having unquenchable thirst for one-night-stands with under-aged girls he choppers off to his scattered love-nests as on-the-side dishes, on top of his unabashed maintenance of multiple mistresses and concubines as main dishes, the last, a Mongolian lass he bought for $200K who just gave him a child in addition to his countless legitimate and illegitimate children. Newspaper magazines, like “his” Philippine Star’s, weekly magazines, like Graphic and the once respectable Free Press, and financial magazines, like Business News, are his tools for his damage control. It is highly noticeable of these to paint this economic criminal as an honest from-rags-to-riches taipan, although for certain that these media concerns, including columnist Marichu Villanueva of “his” Star who doubled lately as a reporter in making a news story of him, omitting all his wickedness largely known in the country considering the abundance of articles about his evilness at Yahoo and Google.

    The latest of this feat is his full-page ad in “his” Philippine Star, complete with pompous photo-op, aimed to project him a man of honorable and noble intentions, although the arrogant that he is, his pose compromised his presumptuous mind-set as the puppeteering yellow emperor of tax evasion, making the people puke. He wants the world to know that he and Mitsubishi Company spearhead the campaign for clean air? This Chinaman phoney philanthropist is again insulting the intelligence of the Filipinos! His multi-billion-per-annum-tax-evading Fortune Tobacco makes low quality cigarettes that gives cancer to smokers and pollutes air! His Tanduay Distillery and Asian Alcohol make low quality liquor that give cirrhosis to drinkers, dump wastes to pollute rivers and pens, killing fish that provide livelihood to many Filipinos in the process! He thinks his “clean air” is thunderous publicity stunt, needing full-page advertisement? The Filipinos have intelligence left to dissect his object!

    “Lost opportunities in 20 years!” he yelled when SC upheld the sequestration lifting of some of his top tax-cheating firms (among them, his Allied Bank, the former General Bank, which he acquired by fraud for a mere P500K in connivance with Governor Lecaros of the Central Bank). The intrepid “un-Tan-ned” BIR Chief Liwayway Vinzons-Chato even discovered that in just two years of his yelled “lost opportunities in 20 years,” he defrauded the government P26 billion in taxes! And until now, if the BIR and SEC officials are not “tan-ned” to play blind, they could see hidden in plain sight that his “sin” companies still steal billions of taxes due for the Filipinos whom he is causing cancer and cirrhosis, and still wantonly violating the Anti-Dummy Law, by using still dummy distribution companies for his “sin” products, to defraud further the government on taxes and to circumvent labor laws to cheat and oppress his Filipino workers!

    This China-born Number One Salot ng Bayan thrives in the corruptibility of our so-called “honorable” public servants, the politicians, officials of the BIR, BoC, and Malacanang, including judges and justices. Ahead of his P26 tax evasion economic crime to lodge in our judicial slumberland, lullabyed by trickles of his ill-gotten billions, just to cite two, are his indictments in early 1980’s for printing P8 billon worth of fake BIR cigarette stamps and his fraudulent acquisition of Century Park- Sheraton Hotel at the full expense of DBP, the people’s money, in cahoots with Don Perry. If these concerned public servants relish being parasitic to Lucifer Effect to sell their own Filipino kind, who would stop this Yellow Economic Lucifer from plundering the Filipino Land while oppressing its farmers and Filipino workers? Should they wait for the Filipino people to rise up to take the law into their own hands, and inflict racial violence on ethnic Chinese, including the mostly law-abiding ones? Such had happened in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur before. God forbids that to happen!

  7. centurioparko Says:

    Incredible logic
    By Solita Collas-Monsod
    First Posted 01:48am (Mla time) 10/14/2006
    Published on Page A12 of the October 14, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

    IF GENERAL outrage met the decision of the Ombudsman, which held that no personnel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was criminally liable for the P1.3-billion contract that the Supreme Court had declared illegal and void, the reaction to the decision of Metropolitan Trial Court Judge Alex E. Ruiz, which acquitted Lucio Tan et al. in a P25-billion tax fraud case, can be characterized as muted. Why this is so (former internal revenue commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato, who initiated the case way back in 1993, tells me that she was interviewed only by the ANC television channel — no calls from radio), I will leave to others to analyze.

    The Ruiz decision is extremely well-written — its command of the English language would put some of the Supreme Court decisions to shame, as far as articulation and grammar are concerned, so much so that one wonders how come Ruiz is still a Metropolitan Trial Court judge and has not risen in the judicial ranks. But his reasoning and, therefore, his conclusions, are about the same quality as those which characterized the Ombudsman’s decision — they stretch credulity to the breaking point.

    Setting aside the legalese, the government claimed that Tan and his Fortune Tobacco Corporation had defrauded the government of P25 billion in taxes (including interest and penalties). How? By selling their cigarettes at ridiculously low “Manufacturers Registered Wholesale Price,” or MRWP. (When I wrote about this 13 years ago, I pointed out that although labor costs and cigarette retail prices had gone up, the MRWP hardly moved, which meant that Fortune Tobacco was allowing its profit per unit to decrease, while presumably the middlemen were reaping financial bonanzas.) And since by law the MRWP was the basis of Fortune Tobacco’s tax liabilities, the government’s tax take was made correspondingly low. The fraud came about because, the government (through then-internal revenue commissioner Chato) claimed, the middlemen — nine “exclusive” marketing corporations and more than 2,000 individuals — were used as dummies or were non-existent.

    What proof did the government have to buttress this claim? Insofar as the nine corporations were concerned, the government produced evidence to the effect that: eight of the nine corporations were incorporated at around the same time; their articles of incorporation were notarized by the same notary public; seven out of nine corporations had the same auditor, who was also the external auditor of Fortune Tobacco; they held office at buildings owned by Tan; all sales invoices of these corporations were identically printed as to format and registered in Makati, Metro Manila despite the fact that their bases of operation were in the provinces; all corporations did not have visible, tangible assets — this indicating that they were not going concerns and were not actually conducting business operations; neither did their stockholders show any visible assets consistent with conducting business involving millions of pesos; all corporations did not appear to have any personnel or workforce at their registered addresses; all corporations had their alphabetically arranged list of customers and their official receipts chronology showed that these customers also made their purchases in alphabetical order; and the corporations had interlocking directors/officers.

    Insofar as the more than 2,000 persons/buyers were concerned, the bases of the government’s claim that they were fictitious are as follows: Not one of them is registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), or has a Tax Identification Number (TIN), or appears in telephone directories, or has middle initials; or has acknowledged receipt of goods, despite the volumes and values involved; and their addresses are not available.

    The Fortune Tobacco list just has general directions; each of them transacted business with Fortune Tobacco only once and never came back to reorder; plus the fact that the “barangay” [village] captains and/or municipal treasurers in the areas involved issued certifications that these persons were non-existent. The government documents also pointed out that if these buyers were first-timers or one-timers, the transactions between them and Fortune Tobacco would have had to be in cash, and they would have had to pick up the merchandise on their own. Which means that they had to carry on their persons an average of P4-6 million. Not only that: if they were the ones who picked up their orders, they would have used their own trucks or delivery equipment. So how come the Fortune Tobacco spent close to P110 million in the period under consideration (1992) for gas, oil and freight and delivery?

    To the lay person, it would seem that all the above would be clear evidence that Tan’s Fortune Tobacco was indeed using dummies. The dictionary defines a dummy as a person or agency secretly in the service of another — to cheat the government of its rightful sales (not to mention income) taxes.

    But Judge Ruiz, in effect, pooh-poohed the government claims. With respect to the corporations, he pointed out that there was no evidence that Tan and cohorts had even a single share in any of the nine corporations — so how could there be a connection between him and them? To him, the link had to be overt, which essentially means that he does not accept the concept of a dummy. Duh? He also swept away the evidence that the more than 2,000 individuals were fictitious by the simple expedient of labeling them “hearsay.” Hello?

    (you see how this tax cheat Intsik can corrupt a judge to sell his Inang Bayan?)

  8. centurioparko Says:


    Hope maker sees no hope for country, blames politics.
    (From Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 28, 2002)
    Byline: Clarissa Batino

    NO GROWTH for the next 100 years. A foreign exchange rate of P120 to the dollar in the next four to six years. And no real national leader for at least the next three generations.

    Billionaire tycoon Lucio Tan read his own version of the country’s fortune cookie on Monday night, and it foretold nothing but bad news.

    “I think this country would continue to sleep in the next 100 years. We cannot grow because of politics, politics and politics. Our leader is not yet produced. Maybe in the next century, maybe three generations more,” said Tan in impromptu remarks delivered in halting English.

    Tan, the man who rose from poverty to build a billion-dollar fortune selling tobacco, including Hope cigarettes, and liquor and eventually expanding to banking and airline services, is the last person one would expect to have given up hope in the country that gave him so many opportunities.

    Yet disillusionment appears to have caught up with the Chinese-Filipino taipan, who advised an audience of bankers and reporters “not to be too optimistic” on the Philippines.

    The taipan, whose disposition with the media had improved immensely in the last couple of months, even challenged anybody in the crowd to contact him “in heaven” by 2102, or a hundred years from now, to collect on the bet-in case, that is, his prophecies were wrong.

    “For me, I don’t feel optimistic until we have discipline and we believe in ourselves,” Tan said.

    But this is not the case with Filipinos who seem to have pursued wrong priorities, Tan added.

    “In China, everybody has to learn English. In the Philippines, we reversed English. Education is popular but very low standard. No wonder the Philippine economy is bankrupt,” Tan said.

    Simple ‘magbobote’

    Tan started his tobacco business in 1966, a year after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was elected as president.

    Born in China’s Fujian province, Tan migrated to the Philippines as a boy and worked his way through college. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos once referred to him as a simple “magbobote” before he met Ferdinand, who was then a congressman. Marcos changed the life and fortune of the struggling Chinese migrant.

    When Marcos became president, Lucio’s tobacco business was accorded much-favored treatment. From tobacco, Tan expanded into liquor and brewery, bought Allied Bank, Philippine National Bank, Philippine Airlines, and engaged in diverse businesses in the Philippines, Hong Kong and China.

    At Allied Bank’s “media thanksgiving” event at the Century Park Sheraton on Monday, Tan reminded the audience that when he projected that the peso would fall to P50 so many years ago, nobody believed him. “Look how much the peso is now. So I say it could go to P120 in the next two, four, or six years,” he added.

    He said politics was making Filipinos poorer. That the population was growing at a faster rate than the economy did not help.

    Tan also took the opportunity to take a swipe against the government’s tax policies.
    “The taxpayer is skin and bones and yet we keep on milking. Talagang no more money but yet we keep on squeezing,” said the taipan whose flagship company Fortune Tobacco Corp. was accused by the Bureau of Internal Revenue during the Ramos administration of having evaded about P25 billion in taxes.

    Unlike China that just keeps on developing, Tan said the Philippines was just deteriorating. “In China, every year there is change. In Manila, in 50 years there is no growth, just squatters growing,” he said.

    According to Tan, the Philippines will continue to decay unless Filipinos believe that they could change and they could improve things.

    “If time is infinity, nothing is impossible. How soon do we put a base in Seattle or in Denver, Colorado. Why not? The Americans keep on putting base in Subic, in Clark, in Zamboanga. Why not we put our base in America?” Tan asked.

    He said the Japanese believed they could defeat the Americans and so bombed Pearl Harbor.

    “We have to wake up. Or we would be like sleeping lions in the next 100 years,” Tan said

  9. centurioparko Says:

    Manila Bulletin October 17, 2007

    Lucio Tan offered P500-M settlement, says Salonga
    Edmer F. Panesa

    Former Senate President Jovito Salonga yesterday told the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division that taipan Lucio Tan had offered P500 million to the government by way of settlement in 1986, but the offer was turned down by then President Corazon C. Aquino.

    Testifying for the government in the latter’s ill-gotten wealth case against Tan and several others, Salonga said the offer was contained in a 10-page written declaration prepared by Tan in which the businessman also made “full disclosures” of his relations with the family of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

    Salonga likewise testified on the factual circumstances surrounding the affidavit of former Security Bank president and Marcos “financial executor” Rolando Gapud, who claimed Tan “belongs to the group that could get presidential decrees and letters of instruction from Mr. Marcos for their joint benefit.”

    Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) counsel Catalino Generillo Jr., who was assisted by Solicitor Mauricia Dinopol, presented Salonga as witness in lieu of Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

    Bongbong had asked that he be excused from going back to the witness stand until the original copies of the documents that would prove his father owned 60 percent of the nine companies currently controlled by Tan are turned over to him by the United States Customs Service next month.

    Generillo made Salonga to confirm his statements found in the book entitled, “Presidential Plunder: The Quest for the Marcos Ill-Gotten Wealth,” that the former Senate chief wrote in 2000.

    The book, published by the University of the Philippines’ Center for Leadership, Citizenship, and Democracy, and Regina Publishing Co., was an account of Salonga of the continuing saga of the PCGG’s efforts to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies.

    The 87-year-old Salonga served as the first chairman of PCGG.

    In his book, Salonga said that on April 29, 1986, Tan “came to the house to give me a partial and preliminary draft of the fair and full disclosure of his relations with the Marcoses, which I had required him to submit, plus the restitution of the money he should now give back to the government.”

    “I remember telling him, in the presence of his lawyer, I would not tolerate any attempt to influence, in any way or manner, any member of our commission. I promised to study his draft and verify its contents,” he added.He said Tan made another written disclosure in the early morning of May 10, 1986 and because of his impending trip then, he said, he asked his fellow commissioners to go over the disclosures to find out whether they may be considered fair and full.

    Sometime on Oct. 28 of the same year, Salonga said Tan went to the PCGG office in Pasig City and offered P500 million by way of settlement, on an installment basis of P100 million every year.

    Salonga said he thought the offer, which was way below what had been recommended by then PCGG Commissioner Ramon Diaz, would probably be rejected by Malacañang.

    Nevertheless, Salonga said he told Tan and his lawyer that he would transmit the offer to President Aquino.“My guess was correct. It was turned down,” Salonga said in his book.

    At this juncture, Tan’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza pointed out that the testimony and documents on the supposed compromise offer of Tan cannot be used as evidence against the businessman.

    Who do you believe, former Sen. Jovy with impeccable integrity or this Yellow Economic Lucifer in RP?

  10. centurioparko Says:

    Manila Bulletin June 5, 2008

    New witness testifies in Sandigan trial of taipan Lucio Tan wealth case
    Edmer F. Panesa

    Despite the absence of a vital state witness, the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan resumed yesterday the trial of the ill-gotten wealth case against taipan Lucio Tan with the government presenting a document that paved the way for Tan to acquire Allied Bank with the help of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) special counsel Catalino Generillo and Solicitor Mauricia Dinopol called to the witness stand PCGG chief librarian Lourdes Magno in lieu of former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos.

    Mrs. Marcos failed to show up at yesterday’s proceedings despite being subpoenaed by the anti-graft court last week. Her lawyer Robert Sison said she was not feeling well and that she will also not be able to attend the hearing scheduled today.

    Sison, however, told the three-member division headed by Associate Justice Ma. Cristina Cortez Estrada that Mrs. Marcos has expressed her willingness to testify and she will be available for the hearings on June 10 and 11. The government deems Mrs. Marcos a vital witness against Tan because of her continuing claim that 60 percent of the taipan’s business empire is owned by her late husband.

    Unfazed by Mrs. Marcos’ absence, state lawyers yesterday presented another witness in the person of Magno, who turned over to the court original copies of 14 documents that include a letter dated March 26, 1977, of Tan to the former President.

    Tan’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza, however, dismissed the letter as immaterial and irrelevant to the case. He said the letter did not prove the government claim that some of Tan’s businesses were ill-gotten.

    In his letter, Tan asked Marcos to persuade then government-owned Philippine National Bank (PNB) to issue a P310-million standby letter of credit in favor of the Central Bank (CB) for his acquisition of General Bank and Trust Co. (Genbank), which is now known as Allied Banking Corp.

    A standby letter of credit serves as a guarantee in the fulfillment of a contract or obligation.The PNB issued a letter telling CB that it would issue such letter of credit for P300 million despite the fact that the state-owned commercial bank, based on its 1972 financial statement, had a single-borrower limit of P200 million.

    It will be recalled that prior to Tan’s acquisition of Genbank, it was temporarily closed by CB because of liquidity problem. CB wanted at that time to reopen Genbank so it invited prospective investors and one of them was Tan. However, Tan had difficulty complying with the condition of CB for a standby letter of credit, so he wrote Marcos.

    According to PCGG’s Generillo, Tan’s March 26, 1977, letter made it possible for him to acquire Genbank, which he later changed to Allied Bank.

    “Even Lucio Tan admitted in his letter that it would be very difficult for them to comply. The letter was dated March 26 but the bidding of CB was to take place on the 28th, meaning they only had one day to produce that standby letter of credit,” Generillo said in an interview.

    Generillo said Tan obtained Genbank after the PNB issued a mere letter saying that it would issue a standby letter of credit. “It was not a standby letter of credit, just a letter saying that PNB would issue a standby letter of credit. What happened next is that after Central Bank awarded Genbank to Lucio Tan, they changed the terms and condition of bidding,” Generillo said.

    “But instead of submitting a standby letter of credit, which it promised Central Bank, hindi rin ‘yun natuloy kasi pinalitan ng mortgages na lang instead of standby letter of credit,” he added.

    Generillo said the March 26, 1977, letter bolstered their claim that Tan and Marcos were business partners as shown by the preferences given by the former President for the advancement of Tan’s businesses.“Lucio Tan was really given preferences by Marcos, as I have presented through testimonial and documentary evidence,” he said.

    Can you see how a super-cheat this Intsik is? P500k is the value of a commercial bank only? Even a rural bank costs much more than that! Gregorio Lecaros must be burning in hell, howling on the Yellow Economic Lucifer!

  11. centurioparko Says:

    Manila Bulletin

    Supreme Court clears way for prosecution of GenBank sale for only P500,000

    The Supreme Court yesterday paved the way for the criminal prosecution of the heirs of the late Central Bank (CB) Governor Gregorio Licaros who allegedly conspired with the late former President Ferdinand Marcos in the purchase by businessman Lucio C. Tan of the more than P688 million assets of the then-General Bank and Trust Company (GenBank) now Allied Banking Corporation, for only P500,000 in 1977.

    In a decision written by Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, the High Court dismissed the petition filed by the Licaros heirs challenging the August 13, 2002 resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering their prosecution for ill- gotten wealth based on a complaint lodged by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).The Licaros heirs also challenged the Feb. 6, 2003 resolution of the Sandiganbayan that dismissed the motion for reconsideration.

    In a 22-page decision, the High Court ruled: “Wherefore, the petition is hereby dismissed and the assailed resolutions affirmed.”

    The decision issued by the High Court�s third division, chaired by Panganiban, was concurred in by Justices Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez, Renato Corona, and Cancio Garcia. Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales was on official leave of absence.

    On July 17, 1987, the PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting, and damages (ill-gotten wealth) against the Marcoses and Tan in connection with the 1977 acquisition of GenBank.

    The criminal complaint alleged that Tan, in connivance with government officials in 1977 � notably the late former President Marcos and the late CB Governor Licaros � took over GenBank with assets of more than P688 million for only P500,000.

    Four years later, the complaint was amended by the PCGG which detailed the alleged participation of Licaros in the reported fraudulent transaction.

    The amended complaint stated that Tan, besides using his influence with Marcos, also capitalized on the manipulation made by Licaros and former Philippine National Bank (PNB) president Panfilo Domingo in the purchase of the financially-distressed GenBank.

    Ruling in favor of the PCGG, the Sandiganbayan accepted the amended complaint and impleaded Licaros in the charges.

    When the Licaros heirs� motion to dismiss and the subsequent motion for reconsideration of the dismissal were denied, they elevated the case to the Supreme Court.

    Ruling on the issue, the High Court said the allegations in the amended complaint “clearly and unequivocably outlined the cause of action against defendant Licaros. The alleged conspiracy to defraud the Republic put the case against the estate or heirs of Licaros squarely under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,” the High Court said.

    At the same time, the High Court noted that the contention of the heirs that the actions imputed against Licaros were official acts of the members of the Monetary Board in 1977 and that the acquisition of GenBank was done through public bidding and in good faith “were evidently matters of defense, the veracity of which must be determined in a full blown trial and not in a mere motion to dismiss.”

    The High Court paid tribute to the PCGG and the Office of Solicitor General “for their demonstrated zeal in prosecuting this case.”

    This court is as interested as the government in recovering ill-gotten wealth, it pointed out.

    This ingrate Intsik thinks he can cheat the high IQ Ferdinand? He is lucky that Bongbong and family don’t still think of stopping him breathing.

  12. centurioparko Says:

    Bulatlat News February 16 – 22, 2003

    Lucio Tan’s Fortune Continues to Reign in Tobacco Sector
    Ilocos Region farmers press GMA to raise tobacco prices to P65 a kilo

    Government authorities say that despite its ups and downs, the tobacco industry is performing well. Badgered by increasing production costs and Fortune Tobacco’s monopolistic practices, however, Ilocos farmers say the industry’s performance amounts to nothing to them and they are asking government to raise tobacco prices to P65 a kilo.

    By Gerry Albert Corpuz Bulatlat.com

    Government claims that the Philippines’ P21-billion ($3.9 million) tobacco industry provides income to 62,470 farmers and 300,000 direct dependents. In addition, around 11 million Filipinos are also involved in this industry in production, marketing and distribution. If the claim is true, the industry provides hope to nearly 12 million Filipino farmers, their dependents and other workers.

    Not so, say Ilocos farmers who are directly involved in tobacco production. And they are accusing government of being biased to magnate Lucio Tan who happens to own also Fortune Tobacco. Fortune, organized farmers say, corners the bulk of tobacco that is produced locally.

    Some 39,327 hectares of agricultural land are planted with tobacco. Production yields an average of 1,734 kilos per hectare every year.

    The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) said for trading year 2001, about of 68,195 kilos of locally-grown leaf tobacco with a farm-gate value of P2.63 billion ($4.8 million) were bought by the NTA through its 123 trading centers. Compared to year 2000, production dropped by 9.30 percent, although total farm gate value registered a growth rate of 2.67 percent in 2001, the NTA also said.

    Data obtained from NTA shows that in 2001, 24.46 percent of some 15.3 million kilos worth $33.1 million were exported. About 3.1 million kilos representing 34.66% of total un-manufactured leaf exports were shipped to the United States during the same period.

    Meanwhile, Myanmar was largest buyer or importer of locally-manufactured tobacco with a total importation of 2,084 kilos valued at $2.7 million which represents 37.32 percent of the total volume of exported manufactured tobacco.

    However, the strong performance of the tobacco industry did not spell boom to tobacco farmers all over the country. Farmers in Ilocos region, the tobacco capital region of the Philippines north of Manila, are complaining about massive underpricing and price manipulations and overpricing of inputs as well as sky-high land rent.

    The Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop-Ex), the biggest association of tobacco farmers in the Ilocos region, complained that the prevailing farm gate price of so-called “rejects” is only between P10 to P15 ($0.18 to $0.27) a kilo although prices at trading centers pegged the average price level at P48 ($0.88) per kilo. The NTA sets floor price for AA class tobacco or Virginia tobacco at P46 ($0.85) a kilo.

    The average daily income registered for the last two years was pegged at not less than P25 ($0.46) , a far cry from the required average of P393 ($7.28) a day for a family of six among the rural people.

    Raise to P65 a kilo campaign

    Last week, tobacco farmers pressed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to act on their demand to raise tobacco prices to P65 ($1.20) a kilo without classification. The same demand was addressed to NTA and the Philippine Aromatic Tobacco Dealers Association (PATDA).

    Stop-Ex, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP-Peasant Movement of the Philippines) is leading both a regional and national campaign to raise the support price of Virginia tobacco to P65 per kilo regardless of type or classification.

    Stop-Ex secretary general Avelino Dacanay said that tobacco farmers “are burdened with onerous land rent, rising costs of production, underpricing and other deceptive measures that keep income at depressed levels.”

    Each tobacco farmer, Dacanay said, spends P10,500 ($194.44) in one-fourth (1/4) hectare of land for tobacco production. “Our demand to raise tobacco prices to P65 a kilo and without classification is very little compared to the millions and millions of profits raised by cigarette manufacturers,” he said.

    Virginia monologue

    Government data indeed reveal that the total production of Virginia tobacco for Ilocos Sur’s 2nd District has reached 18.4 million kilos with an estimated cost of P700 million ($13 million).

    La Union produced 8.2 million with production cost amounting to P397.3 million ($7.35 million) while Ilocos Norte and lowland Abra produced more than 1 million kilos each province.

    The country’s total production of tobacco in 1999 reached 41 million kilos and cost P1.5 billion ($2.8 million). At least 1,667 sticks of cigarettes or 83 packs can be made in a kilo of tobacco.

    The Peasant Education and Research Studies (PERS), an advocacy group, this week charged the government of bragging an empty success in the tobacco sector.

    Roy Morilla, policy advocacy officer of PERS, said “This the kind of success anybody can argue and dismiss as plain rhetoric. It is a plain case of ‘Virginia monologue’ that has numbers to its credits but lacks substance and meaning to productive forces in the tobacco industry.”

    Tan’s fortune

    PERS’ Morilla said the Fortune Tobacco Corporation owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan is the biggest buyer of raw tobacco in the country. He said Tan’s company corners 57.36% of the raw tobacco produced.

    “Tan’s Fortune company really got a million-dollar fortune from the tobacco industry. It dictates over phases from production to planting to distribution and marketing and of course, pricing,” he said.

    KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said Tan’s monopoly position in the tobacco sector has given him the immense power to say anything and acquire everything he wants. “The tobacco sector is actually Tan’s turf since the Marcos regime in exchange for his support to Martial Law,” he said.

    Instead of giving political accommodation and economic concessions to tobacco magnates like Lucio Tan, Ramos said, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must order NTA to raise the floor price of tobacco and side with the farmers interests.

    Tan’s close association with past and present administrations has enabled him to take control of some of the country’s strategic industries including the airlines and banking.

    Net importer

    Ramos further said however that despite its performance, the tobacco sector remains a perennial net importer. Government data said the Philippines imports a huge volume of leaf tobacco due to shortage based on domestic requirements for exports and local consumption.

    In 2001 alone, total imports for leaf tobacco reached 23.7 million kilos draining the country’s dollar reserves by $149.7 million. The bulk of these unmanufactured leaves came from Brazil, with 6.2 million kilos ($18.2 million) and Taiwan with 3.7 million kilos ($8 million).

    On the other hand, the country’s manufactured lead tobacco imports came from Singapore. During the same year, the Philippines imported from Singapore 2.7 million kilos of manufactured tobacco worth $45 million or 46 percent of the total import volume.

    “While the government has been mass flooding the market with tobacco imports, it has kept prices of local tobacco products at prices almost ten feet below ground,” Ramos added. Bulatlat.com

  13. centurioparko Says:

    Bulatlat News
    September 12-18, 2004


    Workers Face Mass Lay-Offs as Lucio Tan Takeover of VMC Looms

    Filipino-Chinese taipan Lucio Tan, allegedly one of the biggest contributors to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election campaign, is gradually taking over Asia’s biggest sugar mill, the Victorias Milling Company in Negros. As a result, 253 FSD-VMC security guards were already relieved and more retrenchments are forthcoming.

    By Karl G. OmbionBulatlat

    BACOLOD CITY – Filipino-Chinese taipan Lucio Tan, owner of Philippine Airlines, Asia Brewery, Allied Bank, and Fortune Tobacco, among others, and allegedly one of the biggest contributors to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election campaign, is gradually taking over Asia’s biggest sugar mill, the Victorias Milling Company.

    But Tan’s takeover of the sugar milling company, located in Victorias City some 40 kms north of Bacolod, portends of things to come for its employees. At least 253 members of FSD, the company’s security agency, were already relieved and more retrenchments are coming.

    Sources from the union and from the group of former VMC President and CEO Arthur Aguilar last week said that Tan had reportedly infused more than P300 million into the company through the Philippine National Bank (PNB). The amount was a loan purportedly to ensure the firm’s financial stability. PNB, which Tan heads as chairman, is among the leading creditor-banks of VMC.

    While the possibility of a takeover by Tan still looms, two of his representatives in the board of directors, Mariano Tan, his brother, and Wilson Young now practically call the shots in the VMC even as another representative of a creditor-bank, Omar Mieir, sits as the chairman of the board.

    Senior vice-president and VMC Officer-in-charge Abelardo Bugay, who now manages VMC takes orders from the taipan, his brother and Young. Likewise, the chiefs of various departments and divisions in VMC have to comply with Tan’s orders.

    Efren Lagdamen, VMC new chief security officer, has also been quoted by union sources as saying that Tan cannot just be ignored because he is the “biggest contributor” to the campaign kitty of Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo during the last election campaign.

    First casualties

    Upon his takeover as VMC security chief Lagdamen ordered the relief of 253 security guards, believed to be loyal to former VMC President and CEO Arthur Aguilar, and replaced them.

    Ernesto Laserna Jr., supervisor of FSD-VMC detachment, and spokesperson of the relieved security guards said, in a press conference Sept. 10 at the office of the National Federation of Sugar Workers-Kilusang Mayo Uno (NFSW-KMU), that 120 out of the 253 assigned with the VMC have already received their relief orders from FSD Assistant Manager Ma. Jose De la Peña last Sept. 1.

    Laserna said that they were surprised by their relief because the contract with FSD was renewed by VMC last June 30, 2004. At the same time, a new security agency was also hired.

    “Without giving any reason, we were asked to report to our main office in Bacolod City”, Laserna added.

    Albert Agudillo, another security guard slammed the relief saying “Amo ni nga krisis, ginkakasan pa gid kami sa amon solo nga pangabuhian” (We are already in crisis, still they removed us from our only job). His companion Romeo Panisales added “Mayo man amon performance, pero ngaa islan pa kami sg mga bag-ohanon kag indi taga-Victorias?” (Our performance is good so why replace us with new ones who are not from Victorias?).

    Laserna said that “the management could have been more considerate in its decision especially that many of the relieved security guards are from Victorias and are without any other means of livelihood”.

    The relieved security guards have been with the FSD-VMC detachment since March 7, 2001. Majority of them are from Victorias and neighboring towns.

    FSD is a big national security agency with more than a thousand security guards deployed under its branches in Negros, Iloilo City, Roxas City, Metro Cebu and Metro Manila.

    More retrenchments loom

    Guillermo Barreta, KMU Negros spokesperson, slammed the relief of the FSD-VMC security guards as part of the grand scheme of Tan to consolidate his hold over Asia’s biggest sugar milling company.

    Barreta revealed that the VMC workforce, currently numbering a mere 2,700 from a peak of more than 6,000, could be further reduced. Bugay has already issued a memorandum regarding the possible downsizing of the VMC workforce.

    Bugay issued another memorandum early this week saying that no salary increase and other benefits would be provided the workers of the VMC Industrial Workers Association (VIWA) in the coming Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations scheduled soon.

    Ironically, Barreta warned, the new security force “may also be used against the expected surge of worker’s protests against the forthcoming mass retrenchments and the new labor flexibility schemes in the company.”

    “Run after tax evaders!” screams the stringed-by-the-Yellow-Economic-Lucifer little president? She should tell that to the goblins!

  14. centurioparko Says:

    [Intl Tobacco] Philippines: Lucio Tan, Master deal maker
    by Hugh Williamson
    Source: Financial Times, Wednesday, 2/28/01

    It seems that Lucio Tan still relishes a challenge. Although he was the
    best-known of Joseph Estrada’s business cronies, the Filipino-Chinese
    tycoon has been quick to cosy up to the people who last month deposed the
    actor-turned-president in a military-backed popular uprising.

    The morning after Alberto Romulo was named finance minister, Mr Tan sent
    him a congratulatory bunch of flowers. The tycoon followed that with a
    visit to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the new president, in her palace, to
    “hail and congratulate” her on taking office.

    This display of bravado is typical of the man who has risen in his 50-year
    career from poor immigrant labourer to arguably the richest man in the
    Philippines and one of south-east Asia’s most powerful business
    personalities. Mr Tan has an estimated wealth of $7bn, built from his
    patchwork of more than 50 companies in the airline, beer, tobacco,
    banking, hotel, property and other sectors in the Philippines and around

    The reactions to Mr Tan’s apparent about-face were also typical,
    reflecting his status as one of the Philippines’ most controversial
    figures. For anti-corruption activists – and many in Manila’s monied elite
    – he is top of the list of businessmen Mrs Macapagal should bring to book
    for alleged tax evasion and corruption. Yet to many in the Chinese
    community, and to poor Filipinos dependent on his companies for jobs or
    products, Mr Tan remains a hero who is willing to work hard, cut a deal
    and move with the times.

    This need to make new political friends is possibly the last big challenge
    of the 66-year-old’s career. It will cast new light on the business and
    political skills of one of the few remaining old-style taipansin
    south-east Asia’s influential overseas Chinese business network. And it
    may help answer a question about Mr Tan: is he a crook who built his
    fortune on corrupt political deals, or a crafty entrepreneur with an eye
    for a deal and a willingness to use unorthodox means?

    An answer would be welcome, because the controversial Mr Tan remains a
    complex, mysterious figure. Often dressed simply in a white short-sleeved
    shirt and ill-fitting black trousers, Mr Tan commonly appears reserved and
    awkward in public gatherings outside Chinese business circles. This is
    partly, say his friends, because of his lack of fluency in both English
    and the Filipino language.

    Yet this simplicity barely hides Mr Tan’s love of the good life. He
    travels everywhere by helicopter. In private, he is a flamboyant host. In
    addition, friends admit, he is the father of many children by several
    mistresses. Mr Tan is deeply private. Few of his large companies are
    publicly listed, he has ignored rules on filing company accounts and his
    spectacular takeovers in recent years of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and
    Philippine National Bank were both mounted covertly using front companies
    and proxy votes. He rarely talks to journalists – he refused repeated
    requests to be interviewed for this article.

    As with many older members of Asia’s overseas Chinese business community,
    Mr Tan’s explanation of his success is rooted in his rags-to-riches past.
    Last year, in a rare full-length interview, he explained what this meant
    to him: “I grew up in poverty. I had no choice but to work harder than my
    peers, to endure more hardships and probably harbour bigger dreams.”

    Born Tan Eng Tsai in Fujian province, eastern China, he emigrated to the
    Philippines as a small boy. Although his parents struggled, he worked his
    way through college, at times being employed as a stevedore.

    In the late 1950s, he set up a scrap-metal business. He later found a job
    in a cigarette factory and it was probably on trips to the northern
    Philippines to buy leaf tobacco that he met a young congressman called
    Ferdinand Marcos.

    Critics say his friendship with the future president-cum-dictator
    underpinned his successful empire. He set up Fortune Tobacco in 1966, a
    year after Marcos became president, and saw it grow rapidly thanks to tax
    breaks and other incentives. By 1980, Fortune was the country’s largest
    cigarette maker.

    Before the country’s “people power” revolt removed Marcos in 1986, Mr Tan
    had also partly used his friend’s help to move into, among other things,
    brewing, pig farming and banking – paying the government a knock-down
    price to acquire what is now Allied Bank.

    With Marcos gone, subsequent presidents tried to sequestrate some of Mr
    Tan’s companies, claiming they represented assets stolen from the state.
    They also filed huge tax evasion cases against his companies. These moves
    failed – indeed, Mr Tan was able to expand his empire, for instance by
    acquiring PAL in the mid-1990s.

    This is evidence of Mr Tan’s skills as a rich, political operator. It is
    also evidence, say his critics, of the vulnerability to powerful and rich
    individuals of Philippine instit utions, especially the courts, tax
    collection agencies and Congress. “Tan has gotten to a science the ability
    to go around the laws but it is that kind of behaviour that has kept the
    Philippines from joining the tigers of Asia,” says Solita Monsod,
    economics professor at the University of the Philippines, who has pressed
    government officials to prosecute Mr Tan.

    Mr Tan’s return to respectability came in 1998, after he spent about 1.5bn
    pesos ($32m) in helping Mr Estrada to win the presidency. He reaped quick
    benefits, with Mr Estrada taking PAL’s side in an air dispute with Taiwan.
    An investigation by the tax office into alleged evasion of 25.3bn pesos of
    taxes has been tied up in court, on technicalities, since the early 1990s.

    The leadership change is bad for Mr Tan, not least since it undermines
    what appears to be his chief remaining ambition: to establish a legacy as
    a legitimate business figure who helped pull the Philippines out of
    poverty and who warrants international respect. Mrs Macapagal says she
    will pursue any outstanding charges against Mr Tan, who denies any

    Mr Tan, who often speaks in private of how he has helped the Philippines,
    “wants to be remembered as a benefactor”, says Teresita Ang See, a
    Filipino-Chinese historian who knows him well. He gives several hundred
    million pesos a year to various charities, making him the most generous of
    Filipino-Chinese businessmen, she adds.

    Ultimately, however, Mr Tan’s legacy depends on an answer to the question
    of whether he is corrupt or a clever entrepreneur. While few doubt he has
    a shar p business sense and is a risk-taker, there is also evidence from
    testimonies to various government enquiries and senate hearings that he
    made deals to share his wealth with Marcos and used questionable
    bookkeeping and shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in

    “He took maximum advantage of the country’s shortcomings. One can get into
    business and follow the rules. He followed the unwritten rules of
    patronage, using proxies and cronyism,” says Roberto De Ocampo, president
    of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Manila and a former finance
    secretary. However, he adds that in a country where corruption is so
    common, Mr Tan “was not alone in doing this, of course”.

    Apparently aware of the drawbacks of being a first-generation
    entrepreneur, Mr Tan – who rarely uses a computer – has recently backed
    his son in launching several new-economy ventures, perhaps in the hope
    that at least the next generation will gain respectability.

    For Mr Tan himself, however, while his money and power are likely to keep
    him out of jail, his tarnished image is also likely to keep him out of the
    histories of business heroes

  15. centurioparko Says:

    Lucio Tan’s beer a matter of national interest?

    weekly newsmagazine (http://www.bulatlat.com/, http://www.bulatlat.net/, http://www.bulatlat.org/).Vol. IV, No. 38, October 24 – 30, 2004

    Asia Brewery Workers Defy GMA’s Strike Freeze
    Lucio Tan’s beer, a matter of national interest?

    The labor department has assumed jurisdiction over a strike staged by workers of Lucio Tan’s Asia Brewery in Cabuyao, Laguna. Since when has beer, the unionized workers cry, been a matter of national interest?


    CABUYAO, Laguna – The machines of alcoholic beverage firm Asia Brewery Inc. here ground to a halt at 6 a.m. last Oct. 4. Around 200 workers then walked out of the factory and staged a picket in front of the company’s main gate.

    An hour later, elements of the Sigasig Security Agency under retired Air Force Gen. Manuel Caranza fired water cannons and beat protesting workers with wooden clubs. This scene was repeated on Oct. 5 and 11 as the guards forcibly took their tents, streamers, a megaphone, motorbike and P10,000 ($177.57, based on an exchange rate of P56.315 per US dollar) cash.
    Workers knew the risks, as shown by their experience in the recent past. In Aug. 1994, they clashed with the military as they stood their ground denouncing the management’s union busting and unfair labor practices.

    Rodrigo Perez, president of the Tunay na Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Asia Brewery (TPMA or Genuine Unity of Workers in Asia Brewery), said the union elected a new set of officers last June 26 to chart a new direction in their collective struggle for higher wages and other benefits. He said that even if they had accomplished the legal requirements for the recognition of the union the management continued to deny the union’s right.
    Beer, a matter of national interest?

    In their manifesto, the striking workers said that Jose Manuel Miranda, the union president who preceded Perez, was expelled through a recall election. They accused Miranda of conniving with the management and the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to discredit the duly-elected union officers.

    “We are demanding the management to reopen talks for our collective bargaining agreement, to recognize the legitimate union leaders, to bring back our two colleagues who were unjustly dismissed, and to end all forms of harassment against us,” Perez told Bulatlat.
    Perez also questioned the DoLE’s issuance of an Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) last December 2003. He argued: “The AJ is unjustified because it only covers labor disputes that are indispensable to national interest. Asia Brewery is a beer company. Since when have beers become a matter of national interest?”

    Tan’s debts

    Asia Brewery, a company that also manufactures distilled water, glass bottles and plastic crates, is owned by Lucio Tan, reportedly the 12th richest man in Asia.
    While increased taxes on so-called “sin products” are being proposed in the wake of the country’s fiscal crisis, recent data from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that Asia Brewery, starting from an initial capital of P200 million, has already accumulated a net profit of P12 billion.

    Tan is still facing a tax evasion case worth P27 billion for failure to pay his dues from 1990 to 1992. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) stated that Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corporation has incurred unpaid debts in the form of ad valorem, excise, income and value-added taxes. Last July, the Supreme Court decided to reopen the tax evasion case against Tan after a lower court’s dismissal in 1999.

    At the onset of the fiscal crisis, progressive lawmakers in Congress called on Malacañang to compel tax evaders like Tan to pay their dues.

    Industrial peace?

    The strike marked the progressive labor movement’s defiance to the strike moratorium forged by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with employers and a moderate labor group.
    “The signing (of the strike moratorium) is no more than the approval papers to execute the working class. It is clear evidence that the assumption of jurisdiction, strike moratorium and the ‘no union, no strike policy’ are repressive measures to bring the workers down to their knees,” says Luz Baculo, secretary-general of the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU, or Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog-May First Movement), a regional militant labor center.

    “In a matter of months, the Arroyo administration nearly completed the requirements for a de facto Martial Law against the trade union movement and the workers who are being branded economic terrorists as the DoLE, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the ‘yellow’ unions enforce the so-called industrial peace,” Baculo added.
    Lawyer Remigio Saladero Jr., director of Pro-Labor Assistance Center (PLACE), explained that a strike, being a basic human right enshrined in the Labor Code, is used by workers to defend themselves against intolerable exploitation and repression. No single worker would choose to strike on his own capriciousness.

    “The true cause for the disruption of industrial peace is the continued oppression unleashed by owners of capital against the working class,” Saladero wrote in his column published in Pinoy Weekly, a progressive newspaper. He also noted that strikes are an inevitable option for the workers.

    “Makasaysayan ang karapatang mag-aklas o magwelga. Halos lahat ng karapatang tinatamasa ng manggagawa ngayon ay bunga ng mga welgang isinagawa upang makamtan ang nasabing mga karapatan. Ang makulay na kasaysayan ng uring manggagawa sa daigdig ay halos magiging walang laman kung aalisin mo rito ang tungkol sa mga pag-aaklas na kanilang isinagawa” (The right to rebel or strike is already a part of history. Almost all of the rights enjoyed today are fruits of strikes to achieve these rights. The colorful history of the working class all over the world would be almost empty if strikes they staged are not taken into account.), Saladero said.
    © 2004 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Publications

    Not long after she assumed her accidental throne, this Yellow Economic Lucifer often whined to his inr-circle me, “Before, it’s yes mam, yes mam. Now, it’s yes sir, yes sir.” Do you see the quid-pro-quo connection? Her RATE is but a charade!

  16. centurioparko Says:

    Lucio Tan evades again

    By Victor Briz President,
    Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino

    Friday, 30 August 2002

    Lucio Tan evades again

    For once, but a fleeting moment, we agree with Lucio Tan’s whining on the deteriorating state of country.

    Lucio Tan calls a spade as it is, while he confirmed the Philippine economic crisis. In doing so, he contradicted Malacanang’s persistent deception that the country has “sound economic fundamentals”.

    However, his analysis is but a half-truth. He blames politics, politics and politics for the worsening living conditions of Filipinos. An astute and shrewd tycoon, Lucio Tan evades capitalist liability on the issue of poverty in the same way as he eludes on his taxes.

    Poverty is a question that is caused by the inequitable distribution of the social wealth that is generated by nature and labor. And at present, the scales of wealth distribution are tipped in favor of the propertied.

    It is to be resolved not by simply “enlarging the bibingka” but by apportioning bigger slices to the toiling majority.

    Capitalist society is but a mirror image of Lucio Tan’s factories. From a petty entrepreneur, Tan has graduated into a big-time industrialist; his capital accumulating by leaps and bounds.

    Meanwhile, his workers inch with their everyday existence, whose improvement is brought by their self-organization in order to collectively strengthen labor’s bargaining leverage.

    Hence, it is sheer hypocrisy for Lucio Tan to merely blame politics as the cause of poverty, not only because he stood as financier to elite politicians in their electoral campaigns – including his kumpare, the infamous Joseph Estrada.

    Moreover, Lucio Tan has continuously derailed and resisted attempts by workers to improve their living conditions. Organized labor will never forget Lucio Tan’s notoriety.

    In his latest dastardly act, he blackmailed the workers of Philippine Airlines to accept a 10-year moratorium of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Even the 2nd division of the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, when it promulgated that the 10-year waiver of the Constitutional right to collectively bargain is legal.

    But Lucio Tan is merely feigning hopelessness in his accurate description of the sorry state of the country. With all his riches and influence, he could easily shift his capital to China. And the good life goes on for Lucio Tan.

    Yet, amidst the worsening conditions and growing destitution, militant workers would not share Lucio Tan’s despair – presuming that he sincerely sees no hope for the country – we pin our hopes to the revival of a militant and broad labor front that would effectively struggle and affect changes in workers’ lives.

    The Yellow Economic Lucifer is also a blackmailer!

  17. centurioparko Says:

    PCIJ January – March 1999

    Lucio Tan – Into the Light

    Demonized by his foes, Lucio Tan is hailed a hero by the new administration.
    by Sheila S. Coronel

    LUCIO TAN is obviously uncomfortable with the camera. He looks at it with a plastic grin that barely masks the grim forbearance with which he faces crowds.

    Yet, unknown to many, both men go a long way back. The president himself said so last April, at the height of the election campaign, when he was guest at a dinner at the Tan-owned Century Park Sheraton Hotel for the managers of the tycoon’s sprawling business empire. “Alam ninyo, itong si Mr. Tan, mayor pa ako ng San Juan, magkaibigan na kami (Mr. Tan and I have been friends ever since I was mayor of San Juan),” Estrada told the gathering, according to Salvador Mison, a retired general who heads Tan’s management company, Basic Shareholdings, Inc.

    Mison remembers a smaller and more intimate dinner just days before the May 11, 1998 elections, this time at the Tan residence on Biak-na-Bato street in Quezon City. Lucio Tan and his brothers were there, as were key officials of Tan companies. Estrada came with Senator Franklin Drilon, both of them assuring the tycoon about the prospects of the campaign. Tan was, after all, not only Estrada’s long-time friend; it is widely acknowledged that he was also a major donor to the Erap campaign. Although the tycoon is not included in the list of contributors submitted to the Commission on Elections, his brother Harry is shown as having contributed P3 million to the ruling party. Well-placed sources in the Erap camp, however, estimated Lucio Tan’s donation at P1.5 billion.

    Not only that, says Mison, the resources of the Tan companies—trucks, distributors, salesmen and other employees—were mobilized for Estrada, as they were for Ramon Mitra in 1992 and Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. The grassroots sales and distribution network of Tan’s cigarette and liquor conglomerate is an asset to any campaign. Extending to the remotest reaches of the archipelago, it is rivaled only by San Miguel Corporation, the biggest company in the country.

    To the politically sophisticated, this is nothing new. Money is a central feature of Philippine elections, and businessmen have invariably bankrolled campaigns. The conventional wisdom is that a campaign contribution is an investment that guarantees access and favorable treatment once the recipient of the contribution is elected. Ethnic Chinese businessmen have traditionally been the big spenders: Before the 1970s, when they were awarded Filipino citizenship, their uncertain status made their enterprises vulnerable to political intervention and election contributions were an insurance against shakedowns. Citizenship made Chinese-Filipino businessmen more secure, but unlike native Filipino entrepreneurs, who have access to high officials through family networks, the ethnic Chinese are outsiders who literally have to buy political influence.

    Lucio Tan just happens to play this role on a far grander scale than any other Chinese-Filipino businessman before him. Moreover, the questionable origins of his business empire and his unorthodox business practices make him a controversial character. But more than that, the sheer obstinacy—and audacity—with which he has taken on the Aquino and Ramos governments stand in stark contrast to the generally politically safe and compliant behavior of ethnic Chinese tycoons. His high-profile support for Estrada also breaks the traditional mold of Chinese businessmen putting their money on both sides to avoid political controversy.

    Not surprisingly, the image of Lucio Tan—whose multibillion-dollar business empire makes him probably the richest man in the Philippines and who is facing legal charges for evading over P26 billion in taxes—side by side with Joseph Estrada, as president the most powerful individual in the land, makes many Filipinos shudder. In a country where the intimacy between wealth and power has had such disastrous results and where businessmen with access to Malacañang had always ended up looting the nation’s coffers, the alarm bells were sure to ring.

    Says Solita Monsod, economics professor and former economic planning secretary: “Lucio Tan is a role model for the worst kind of conduct as far as our national economic objectives are concerned. He signals that you can evade taxes and get away with it, pay the courts and get the judges to decide in your favor, get good lawyers and delay your cases. The messages that are given by the kind of treatment that he gets from the government are the antithesis of what we need for sustainable development: an even playing field and government intervention of the right kind.”

    TAN’S DEFENDERS, though, portray him a victim of elitism and racism. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Eugenio Lopez Sr. was as audacious in his dealings with the government. Today, if a blueblood Lopez or Ayala were seen publicly so cozy in presidential company (as indeed Jaime Zobel de Ayala was during the Aquino administration), most people would probably shrug it off as their birthright. But Tan stirs things up not because he is believed to be evading taxes or paying off politicians—after all, many businessmen in this country do so—but because of the magnitude of his alleged sins: supposedly billions of pesos in unpaid taxes and outsized campaign contributions that make politicians too beholden to one man. There is, moreover, the discomfiting fact that Tan is a parvenu, a Chinese upstart, an outsider. Tradition dictates that his place is in the shadows.

    Which was where, not too long ago, Lucio Tan was. His beginnings are as obscure as they come; his story, the classic émigré rags-to-riches tale. Born in 1934 to a struggling immigrant family in Naga, he worked his way through college, set up a business dealing with scrap in the late 1950s, and also found employment in a cigarette factory, where he was assigned to buy leaf tobacco in the Ilocos provinces. This was where Tan probably encountered the young congressman Ferdinand Marcos, says a long-time associate who asks not to be named. Politicians were then, as now, very much involved in the trading of the region’s biggest cash crop, and were often dealing directly with the ethnic Chinese traders who were buying it.

    By the time Tan ventured off on his own and set up Fortune Tobacco in 1966, Marcos had just been elected president. Fortune grew phenomenally after martial law, thanks to generous tax and other incentives (at one point, it would later be alleged, the Bureau of Internal Revenue allowed Tan to print his own cigarette stamps). By 1980, Fortune was the country’s biggest cigarette manufacturer. Today, it accounts for over half of the cigarettes sold in the country and buys 75 percent of all the tobacco produced here.

    In 1977, Tan acquired from the government the bankrupt General Bank and Trust Co. for only P500,000, in what is widely described as a sweetheart deal. Genbank is now Allied Bank, one of the country’s top banks. In 1982, Tan put up the Asia Brewery, benefiting from a Marcos ruling that lifted the ban on the establishment of new beer companies.

    Without doubt, Tan has extraordinary business acumen, but like other businessmen close to Malacañang during martial law, he flourished not only because he was “smarter than others” but with the help of generous incentives from the Marcos regime. Such generosity came with a price. As Marcos’s financial adviser, Rolando Gapud, revealed in an affidavit issued in 1987 to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG): “I know that Mr. Marcos and Mr. Lucio Tan had an understanding that Mr. Marcos owns 60 percent of Shareholdings, Inc. which owns shares of Fortune Tobacco, Asia Brewery, Allied Bank and Foremost Farms…Mr. Lucio Tan, apart from the 60 percent equity of Mr. Marcos, had been regularly paying, through Security Bank, P60 to P100 million a year to Mr. Marcos, in exchange for privileges and concessions Mr. Marcos had been giving him.”

    In 1986, when Marcos was fighting for his political life, Tan gave him full support, even busing employees to the ailing dictator’s rallies. Romeo Magtubo, Fortune Tobacco’s union president who is now a party list representative in Congress, recalls how the factory’s workers were loaded into “Love Buses” and sent en masse to cheer for Marcos, after which they were given allowances by the company for their effort.

    When Marcos fell and Corazon Aquino became president, Tan, like other Marcos cronies, was out of favor. The PCGG investigated his companies, several of his firms were sequestered, and he found himself, at least in the beginning, without a lifeline to Malacañang. What transpired in the next 12 years is a remarkable story of how a politically savvy tycoon has subverted government efforts to keep him in line and tame his influence. Tan’s triumph, his journey from the shadows into the light, shows the power of money and connections, the weakness of government, and the vulnerability of individuals and institutions.

    Dr. Fu-Manchu lording over the Filipinos!

  18. centurioparko Says:

    PCIJ January to March 1999
    M E D I A — W E L O V E L U C I O

    BUT MORE visible and effective than ownership or an intimate relationship with the press is the clout Lucio Tan wields by practically subsidizing the media, thanks to the numerous ad placements of his companies. Tan’s firms are among the country’s top advertisers. In 1996 alone, his top three companies—Asia Brewery, Tanduay Distillery and Fortune Tobacco—altogether plunked down almost a billion pesos in media advertising. A year later, just when the economic crisis began, the figure jumped to P1.621 billion.

    The bulk of Tan’s advertising money is spent on radio and television, the media most relied upon to reach the targets of his consumer products, the masa. For airing commercials of Hope, Winston, Champion, More and Mark cigarettes, Fortune Tobacco paid the television industry nearly P600 million in 1997, and the radio industry almost P400 million. In contrast, Fortune spent only P17.55 million for print ads.

    Tan’s ad money is spread out to various television and radio stations, and following industry practice, is placed in programs which are most watched by consumers. His managers are said to report directly to a committee—chaired by Tan himself—which has made it a policy to underwrite only programs considered Tan-friendly.

    These managers deal directly with the sales departments of broadcast stations, the units that sell airtime to clients. The managers also monitor whether the advertisements come out and whether the program over which it is aired did not make any derogatory remark about the product or the client himself, i.e. Tan. Hence, when Korina Sanchez read aloud that Lucio Tan was a tax evader in 1996, Fortune Tobacco executives immediately pulled their ads out of her program. Sanchez can only call it “pure blackmail and harassment.”

    Unlike other networks, the giant ABS-CBN could probably afford to let go of the Tan account because several others are waiting in line to fill its slot. But it’s a sizable account nonetheless; in 1998, the network earned P98 million from advertisements placed by Tan-owned companies in Channel 2 alone, not counting radio station DZMM.

    It really isn’t the big companies like ABS-CBN that are most affected by pressure from advertisers, but rather the smaller broadcast stations and outfits that jostle for the advertising crumbs thrown away by the big boys. But even the mid-size stations are bound not to pass up any advertising revenue, especially in times of crisis.

    A major broadcast network has developed a modus vivendi as far as Lucio Tan is concerned. “There are stories about Lucio Tan you really can’t kill,” says a TV news executive connected with the network. But rather than get annoying calls from Tan’s minions, the station has come up with the policy that “if we’re running a story on Lucio Tan, we pull out his advertisement from that program and put it elsewhere.”

    “Mr. Tan has all the right to withdraw his sponsorship of a program if he’s being attacked! ” Mison declares. “Can you imagine listening to a news program that calls Mr. Tan a tax cheat, then it’s brought to you by Tanduay Rhum? You’re paying for that program and then you’re being attacked in that program! Hindi tama (It’s not right)!”

    To be fair, there are other advertisers who would not hesitate to use their business clout to whip the media into line. For years, the weekly magazine show ‘The Probe Team’ earned considerable income producing “The Good News,” a regular segment on successful entrepreneurs sponsored by another major broadcast advertiser, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). But when ‘Probe’ producers did a story on rival Bayantel and the sorry state of phone services in the country, PLDT immediately withdrew its ads from ‘Probe.’ The PLDT account was small but substantial enough for an independent outfit like Probe, which competes with the established and station-produced programs for revenue. But that was three years ago and time seems to have healed the rift. ‘Probe’ will soon be producing “The Good News” for PLDT again.

    Lessons like this teach broadcast journalists especially to be shallow and sensationalistic. Rather than make insightful inquiries into the country’s economic problems and consumer woes that might offend advertisers, television and radio news programs encourage safer stories that deal with sex, crime and entertainment. Many years ago, Fortune Tobacco took ABC Channel 5 to task for airing, on a Fortune-sponsored news bulletin, a story on the harmful effects of smoking. Nowadays, the company would rather subsidize “harmless” ventures like sports news or late night movies than serious news programs.

    Pressure from advertisers has also fostered self-censorship among broadcast journalists. A managing editor in an AM radio station says it’s not uncommon for reporters to first check with bosses before covering touchy stories involving big advertisers. Once they hear the advice, “Pare, may account yan (That one has an account)!” they retreat.

    In television news and public affairs, executives warn correspondents to stay away from stories that might offend patrons. A story on the cattle industry and the country’s beef supply, no matter how harmless, might anger a major fast-food chain. A report on bottled water may irk a water company, or even the water utility. And the worries go on.

    Offending advertisers—any advertiser, really—could be costly. In Lucio Tan’s case, the flight of Fortune Tobacco could mean millions of pesos in potential revenue, plus triple jeopardy. Not one but at least two other major Tan account could go down with it.

    Now with Tan rumored on a buying binge—he is supposedly interested in acquiring businesses that include Meralco and Mimosa, PNB and Petron—there may be even less room for journalists to maneuver. Big Brother may truly have arrived.

    There’s a postscript to this report. Sometimes, sensitive stories have a way of turning up in the most unexpected places, no matter how hard a reporter avoids it.

    As the rest of the country greeted 1999 with fireworks, ABS-CBN reporter Mike Cohen was seated on the steps of the Guesthouse in Malacañang, waiting for a story to take home for his early morning program, ‘Alas Singko Y Medya.’ Earlier, he had gotten clearance from Palace guards and staff to be there for a story about a presidential son who had just moved into Malacañang. Upon arriving there, he was told the First Family was having New Year’s eve dinner with the closest of the president’s friends—the inner circle. And so Cohen and his crew waited.

    The party apparently broke up shortly past 2:00 am of January 1, and the First Family was seeing its guests to the door. Who would appear but Lucio Tan with a tipsy President Joseph Estrada whom Cohen overheard telling the tycoon: “Pare, don’t worry about your problems. This year will be better.”

    Cohen had no idea what those problems were and probably couldn’t care less. For moments later, his thoughts were on trying to get out of the place fast. The president had seen Cohen and his camera crew recording the whole thing. Estrada’s amiable countenance changed, recalls Cohen, and after Tan left, the visibly furious president demanded that they turn over the tape to him at once. “He was really upset,” says Cohen. “My only thought was on getting out of there alive. What if he hit me?”

    Estrada reached down to yank the tape out of the camera himself, and he may be the only one who knows what Cohen and his crew caught on camera that New Year’s morning. But it sent yet another message to media: taipan Tan’s clout goes all the way to the top.

    Now you know why no bad press for this Yellow Economic Lucifer? The media is at his mercy, ignoring their sworn role in our society as reporter of truth!

  19. Domingo Says:

    maraming bago sa truthaboutluciotan.blogspot.com

  20. luciferfxwatchers Says:

    In the victory party of Fred Lim aka “Dirty Harry” as re-elected mayor of Manila, prominent to be seen were Lucio Tan and Lucio Co, the Sino valedictorian and salutatorian respectively in economic sabotage. Obviously, they were there to show to the Filipino people that in the presidency of Sen. Noynoy, which swore to end corruption, considering that these two are the top corruptors, they will be untouchable since the mayor has deep influence on Noynoy. What is puzzling was why Lucio Tan, the Yellow Economic Lucifer in the Filipino land, there when he filed a suit against Mayor Lim and his city council regarding sale of the lot where his fraudulently acquired Century Park is. His face is as thick as a crocodile’s? Mayor Lim had him as financial supporter in his re-running for mayor? Presumptive president Noynoy should beware. His promise to end corruption is at stake to be broken. The Filipino people are watching him if he is truly bent on putting in prison corruptors and corrupt government officials, notably Lucio Tan, the top tax evader cum smuggler, as well as his namesake Lucio Co, the other topnotcher smuggler.

  21. I am truly pleased to glance at this weblog posts which carries lots of valuable
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