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Business

SEC, PSE must probe Tiu

- Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

The on-going Senate investigation into alleged Binay properties has reportedly confused BIR chief Kim Henares. Don’t be surprised. Most of us following it are also confused. I am.

There are too many twists and turns. You have to be quick to look at body language, facial expressions and not just listen to the words. And at the end of it all, you have this feeling things don’t add up.

After sitting there for hours watching the proceedings, perhaps half amused and half frustrated, I am sure many of us got very curious. It is like a mystery novel. The clues are there hidden in the bits and pieces of truth, half truths and lies and it is up to you to figure the puzzle.

I am not sure we should bank on the Senate hearings to produce evidence that would convict Binay in a court of law. But enough doubts have been brought out that demands real investigation by some government agencies and not just of Binay.

The BIR should look into the tax liability of all those land transfers as well as the financial capabilities of the alleged dummies to hold those properties. The Department of Agrarian Reform should look into the violation of CARP in the process of putting the large hacienda together from small parcels of land in a kind of reverse CARP.

For business investors in the equities market, the SEC and the PSE must do their own investigations of Antonio Tiu and his two listed companies. If the PSE can be that decisive and even harsh on Bobby Ongpin and the executives of his company for supposed improper disclosures, it would seem Tiu has more convoluted dealings to explain.

Yet, when I asked Hans Sicat, the president of PSE on Twitter, if they are investigating, he ignored the question. Sicat just went on tweeting about sports and everything else. Perhaps this is a question more properly addressed to the PSE board.

Anyone who has followed the testimony of Tiu will realize there are some serious disclosure and governance issues that require looking into regarding Tiu’s two listed issues at the PSE, AgriNurture Inc. and Greenergy Holdings Inc. The integrity of the market must be protected at all times.

Luckily, there is the SEC or the Securities and Exchange Commission. SEC chairperson Teresita Herbosa told the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that due diligence resulted in adverse findings and incomplete disclosures involving the companies of businessman Antonio Tiu.

Chairperson Herbosa said the SEC reviewed and investigated the disclosures and reports of Tiu’s Greenergy Holdings Inc. and AgriNurture Inc. and SEC will be issuing notices of clarificatory conferences to company officers as well as the auditors.

 Herbosa says they have questions about some of the statements and will ask the companies to explain. Herbosa said penalties for false statements by a company could include closing the company.

In October last year, Tiu folded the companies Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. and The IT Group into the PSE-listed holding firm “to diversify Greenergy’s investment portfolio.” The IT Group specializes in the fields of management consultancy, technology, and outsourcing services. Greenergy acquired a 26-percent stake in ANI, the other listed issue.

Expect the no nonsense Herbosa to get into the bottom of things. The SEC should be able to get some answers that would help us understand what is going on at the Senate hearings.

It is a pity that the PSE was slow to react, proving that its self governing status isn’t working as well. It seems the old boy connections prevail. We still have to go back to SEC to get real protection for investors. I have wondered about this because I know from experience that PSE is quick to issue orders to explain even innocuous news reports about a listed issue.

A listed company is a good cover if that’s the intention because there is the assumption of transparency and good governance. But it is also a dangerous one due to the required level of disclosures. The poor COO of Alphaland and its corporate secretary have been banned from holding directorships in a listed company by PSE due to disclosure problems of Ongpin.

If SEC reaches a decision based on their findings ahead of PSE, that would put value on what Bobby Ongpin has insinuated that PSE officials just had a personal grudge against him. I am hoping PSE makes its self regulatory status meaningful and not let the SEC do the heavy lifting on Tiu.

Petrochemical

I got this reaction from a reader to that item in last Friday’s column about the abolition of a PNOC subsidiary.

Boo, on PAFC (PNOC Alternative Fuels Corporation), better to revert to its mandate to develop the 200-hectare petrochemicals industrial park as host to petrochemical companies. If the P10 billion allocation in 1994 was not diverted to minimize the fuel increase then, the government in joint venture with private companies could have built the naphtha cracker (ethylene plant) as we are catching up with Thailand in building a basic industry.

Petron even then is part of the long term plan to integrate the refinery with the petrochemical complex. Now, I fully agree with you for Ramón Ang to acquire or make arrangement for this integration. This plan is still feasible.

Today, two plants, one owned by Petron, a polypropelene plant and another owned by the Iranian still stands but struggling. Building a naptha cracker with back to back integration with the downstream plants is still feasible with Petron. I pray that this will happen in my lifetime.

Alternative fuel has a very far synergy with petrochemicals and the foremost proponent then, the DOTC secretary left it after a P1-billion allocation was dissipated in jatropha projects that never get off the ground. Sayang.

So there it is… looks like the PNOC subsidiary they are abolishing still has work to do. As I said, they should abolish the PNOC mother company instead as it had been useless for years and expensive to maintain. I would be very surprised if PNOC mother can honestly list anything of value it has done over the past ten years.

Halloween

Tired of all the politics in the news, here’s something funny I picked up in one of my e-groups.

A couple was invited to a swanky costume party.  The Mrs. got a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone. He being a devoted husband protested, but she argued and said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed and there was no need for his good time being spoiled by not going. So he took his costume and away he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for about an hour, awakened without pain and, as it was still early, decided to go the party. Since her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him.

She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice looking woman he could, and copping a little feel here and a little kiss there.

She sidled up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he left his current partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new babe that had just arrived. She let him go as far as he wished, naturally, since he was her husband. Finally, he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed.

So off they went to one of the cars and had a quickie.  Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, put the costume away and got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.

She was sitting up reading when he came in, and she asked what kind of a time he had…

He said: “Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.”

“Did you dance much?”

“I’ll tell you, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys and we went into the den and played poker all evening. But you’re not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to...

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

ANTONIO TIU

BINAY

BOBBY ONGPIN

GREENERGY HOLDINGS INC

HERBOSA

PETRON

PSE

SEC

TIU

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