Cedric, partner of ex-PNP generals

Neil Jerome Morales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Retired police generals – including one implicated in the P34-million helicopter purchase scam – are among the partners of controversial businessman Cedric Lee in his almost 20 business ventures, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records show.

Most of the companies in which Lee is stockholder, board member, or incorporator have also turned out to be non-compliant with SEC’s reportorial requirements. Only three of the companies have complied with the reporting requirements of the corporate watchdog.

Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares, for her part, also said they are reviewing Lee’s tax compliance.

Lee, along with seven others, is facing several criminal charges including the non-bailable offense of serious illegal detention, in connection with the beating of television host and actor Ferdinand “Vhong” Navarro inside a condominium unit in Taguig City last Jan.22.

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director general for administration and now Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano is a board member and incorporator of Colossal Mining.

He began serving a 90-day suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman last Jan. 29 for his alleged role in the anomalous purchase of police helicopters during the Arroyo administration. Soriano, who is also a lawyer, said he respects the Ombudsman’s order as he temporarily turned over his post to Vice Mayor Engelbert Caronan.

Former PNP director for logistics Gen. Luizo Ticman and former PNP director for records management Gen. Abner Cabalquinto were listed as incorporators and board members of Verticabares Agro-Industrial.

Based on SEC records, metallic ore mining firm Luzon Iron Development Group Corp. filed its 2012 general information sheet (GIS) and 2013 audited financial statement (AFS), while service firm Phil-Asia Dredging and Reclamation Corp. submitted its 2013 GIS and 2012 AFS. Colossal Mining Corp. last filed its AFS in 2011 and its GIS in 2012.

SEC said Philippine Geotextile Industries Inc., Canaan and Caleb Global Holdings Inc., Alpha International Group Inc., Izumo Services Inc., Quindex Metal Products Corp., Quindex Phils. Inc., Harvard Publisher & Printer Inc., Asia-parts Corp. and Fiberflex Corp. managed to file at least one GIS or AFS.

Red Grapes Ventures Inc., Oregon Steel Corp., Verticabares, Tri-City Holdings Inc., beauty treatment company BH6750 Aesthetic Institute Corp., Waste Management Inc. and Voyage Energy Inc. have never complied with SEC reportorial requirements.

Cebu project

Based on SEC records, Waste Management has a contract with the province of Cebu to manage its landfill and convert its waste to energy. Izumo is a construction firm organized in 1988. One of its projects is the Davao del Sur Cultural Business Center. Lee serves as chairman and president of the company.

Colossal Mining is the biggest iron sand concessionaire in the Philippines in which Lee serves as managing director.

He is chairman and president of PDRC, reportedly the biggest dredging operation in Cagayan River.

SEC requires companies to report annually through GIS and AFS. “The failure of these corporations to submit the reports like the general information sheet and financial statements can also be construed as non-operation for five consecutive years,” SEC said.

Under the Securities Regulation Code, corporate regulators can revoke companies’ certificate of registration on various grounds including failure to comply with reportorial requirements.

Failure to formally organize and start a business or construction work within two years from the date of incorporation is a ground for revocation of license.

SEC chairman Teresita Herbosa said a thorough review of firms associated with Lee may be undertaken if a formal request is made by any party.

“Well, so far as SEC is concerned, we only look into whether the company has been complying with our requirements, if they have continuously filed their GIS every year, they have filed their audited financial statements,” she told reporters yesterday on the pork barrel scam. “And if they have not, then we can go and revoke the corporation. But with respect to whether or not they have the right to incorporate, of course, they can because everyone has the right to incorporate.”

Herbosa explained that there are about 800,000 firms registered with the SEC and that it was almost impossible for them to review even half of them annually.

“So we treat them (Lee’s firms) like all the others who have filed with us. And if they fall under the companies that we are supposed to examine for the year, then they will be examined,” she said.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said on Wednesday that he had prevented Lee from conducting business in San Juan when he was still mayor because had sensed something unsettling about the businessman’s character.

Ejercito said he did not allow Lee and his partner Tyrone Ong of Euro generals fame to bag the contract for construction of the new San Juan City Hall in 2001.

“There is something about his character,” he said. “So after a contract, he and his partner, Tyrone Ong, thought they could still get to corner the contract for the new city hall, but I prevented them.”

Ejercito said he and Lee are neighbors and schoolmates in Xavier School in San Juan.

Aside from his corporate reportorial lapses, Lee would also have to deal with possible tax oversight or outright evasion.

“We’re looking into his tax compliance but it doesn’t mean he has violated the tax law,” Henares said.

Henares said it’s BIR’s job to make sure that individuals and corporations pay the correct taxes.

According to his profile on LinkedIn, Lee graduated from De La Salle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. With Zinnia dela Peña, Raymund Catindig, Charlie Lagsaca, Christina Mendez


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