Danding reaping business gains under Noynoy--CPP*
CPP Information Bureau
April 15, 2011
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today scored the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco's claim over 20% of San Miguel Corporation shares which he acquired in the 1980s using coco levy funds. The decision contemptuously disregards the interests of the coconut farmers who have been wrung of their sweat and blood by Cojuangco and his empire.
"Danding Cojuangco is now reaping the fruits of his political investment," said the CPP. "His large contributions to Noynoy Aquino's campaign kitty last year has harmonized his interests with that of the Aquinos and placed him in a position to further expand his economic empire."
In 1972 and 1982, the Marcos dictatorship imposed a tax on coconut farmers purportedly to develop the coconut industry. These funds were administered by the Philippine Coconut Authority and later used to buy the First United Bank renamed later as the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). Through the UCPB, Cojuangco was able to acquire as much as 47% of SMC shares and placed this under the UCPB-administered Coconut Industry Investment Fund.
The Cojuangco shares at the SMC were sequestered in 1986 under the Corazon Aquino government and placed under the control of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). In 2007, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the 20% block of SMC shares are the "exclusive property" of Cojuangco as registered owner. Upon regaining control of the shares, Cojuangco was able to return to SMC, seize its chairmanship and have himself appointed as Chief Executive Officer.
"The Supreme Court decision to uphold Cojuangco's ownership of the 20% block of SMC shares completely disregards the claims of the coconut farmers over the funds used to acquire the stocks," said the CPP. "As a Marcos crony and one of the principal beneficiaries of martial rule, Cojuangco imposed the burdensome levy on coconut farmers and took control of these funds in order to amass wealth."
"Danding Cojuangco has succeeded in becoming one of the most powerful big bureaucrats and compradors through his partnership with Marcos. He employed the full power of the martial law state to forcibly acquire vast tracts of land, fleece and terrorize peasants, suppress workers and seize the properties of his rivals," said the CPP.
"The Filipino people are utterly disgusted at how Marcos cronies such as Cojuangco, Lucio Tan and other big bourgeois compradors are benefiting from decisions being promulgated under the Aquino regime," said the CPP. The CPP noted that just a few weeks ago, Malacañang issued a decision favoring the Lucio Tan-controlled Philippine Air Lines (PAL) in its plan to remove around 2,600 workers in order to further reduce operating costs.