Aquino deaths presaged Aquino presidencies

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

Twice in history the death of an Aquino presaged an Aquino presidency. The 1983 assassination of democracy icon Ninoy Aquino led to a stolen presidential election and a civilian-military uprising that swept his widow Cory into Malacañang. The death of Cory in August 2009 galvanized public anger at another dirty, doubted administration and installed their son Noynoy to the highest office.

Behind the grief over the untimely passing of Noynoy yesterday is pondering. Will Filipinos be stirred a third time to reject an authoritarian clone? Will they choose another Aquino, if not an associated liberal democrat?

Filipinos are not “bobotantes,” as the snooty judge when their candidate loses. Voters strive to discern what kind of leader the campaign promiser will be. Oftentimes they choose the opposite of the Malacañang occupant.

In 1986 Filipinos, disgruntled with plunderous dictator Ferdinand Marcos, picked kindhearted housewife Cory. In 1992 they went for the more experienced action man Fidel Ramos. In 1998 they tried out popular actor Joseph Estrada. On to 2016, after Noynoy they opted for a tough-talking iconoclast.

The issues of Election 2022 are defined this early. In survey after survey, Filipinos oppose China’s sea incursions and want government to do something about it; meaning, no acquiescence to the aggressors. People need jobs, and deserve protection of domestic produce against unbridled smuggling and imports. They expect accomplishments, not mere hosannas from paid trolls. They crave for true education, aware that their college degrees qualify them only as nannies overseas. No amount of ordering them around, threatening them with arrest and cursing their God can change those aspirations.

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Out of propriety tycoon Eusebio Tanco has declined reelection on July 2 to the Philippine Stock Exchange board. He wrote PSE chairman Jose Pardo last week to halt his automatic nomination as director, which he has been for 14 years. It came right after an SEC panel linked a stock brokerage that Tanco chairs, Ventures Securities Inc. (VSI), to the loss by another broker of P750 million in clients’ shares. Tanco was not himself faulted for a VSI client’s misdeeds. Still he felt that “recent events, which, unfortunately and unjustifiably have besmirched the reputation of VSI and its officers and employees, compel me out of delicadeza to decline the nomination.”

Pardo praised Tanco for “tak[ing] the moral high ground and not put at risk the reputation of an institution he holds in high esteem – the PSE. All the more admirable, because it was a decision he made without knowing the outcome of Nomelec’s (PSE Nominations and Elections Committee) decision. Truly a laudable and noble act.”

On June 11 the SEC panel suspended VSI’s broker-dealer license and penalized it P32 million. Allegedly VSI’s “acts and omissions indispensably contributed to, if they had not been the proximate cause of, the losses incurred by the clients of R&L Investments.” VSI is contesting the panel’s ruling.

The case of R&L employee Marlo Moron dragged VSI into the investigation. Findings are that Moron, acting as both trader and settlement clerk, in violation of SEC rules for brokerages, executed broker-to-broker trades. This indicated that Moron had R&L’s access code to use the Philippine Central Depository where PSE trades are sent for settlement. Moron also kept the books of accounts, a virtual one-man show in control of various aspects of brokerage operations, no checks and balance, the panel found. R&L was stripped of broker license and penalized P25 million.

Using the access code, Moron purportedly transferred shares of R&L clients to Julieto Sulapas. The fraudulent transfer took place exclusively within R&L, VSI asserted in defense. Thereafter Sulapas was endorsed to and became a client of VSI. No broker dealing with Sulapas’ shares would have known that those do not belong to him, VSI said.

This went on for seven years, 2012-2019, escaping the attention of the Capital Markets Integrity Corporation, the moral guardian of the brokerage community, VSI contended. Had the CMIC looked into brokerages, it would have noticed the anomalies, being better equipped to detect violations, VSI added.

Though not implicated, Tanco withdrew “in the best interest of the PSE. The Exchange, after all, is bigger than any individual broker, and it is my belief that all our efforts should be directed to the protection and preservation of [its] image. My only wish is for an acknowledgement that the real guilty parties will be called to account for this sorry state of affairs.”

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Condolences to her family on the demise of the venerable Nelia Teodoro Gonzalez, 97. She was indefatigable as University of the Philippines Regent, agribusiness and social entrepreneur, pioneer in modern poultry and feeds, exponent of cooperative and small farmer development, patron of music and arts, and fundraiser for various charities. She will forever be in Filipino memories.

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Catch “Sapol” radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

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