Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Al­men­dras?

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - BUSINESS - By the staff

WILL PRES­I­DENT Aquino choose a new Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary in the com­ing­months ( or weeks)?

Ac­cord­ing to our sources, En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rene Al­men­dras is on a very short-list of can­di­dates to be­come “ Lit­tle Pres­i­dent” in the event ( how­ever un­likely) that the post cur­rently held by Sec­re­tary Jojo Ochoa be­comes va­cant.

Al­men­dras’ stock has risen in the Pres­i­dent’s eyes in re­cent­months, sup­pos­edly be­cause of his skills in man­ag­ing the crit­i­cal en­ergy port­fo­lio, plus the fact that he is not iden­ti­fied with ei­ther the Sa­mar or Balay fac­tions in the Palace.

More im­por­tantly, Al­men­dras sup­pos­edly heads one of the three fac­tions of Kak­lase/ Kaibi­gan Inc. Even be­fore be­ing named en­ergy chief, he re­port­edly held enough clout al­ready to give P-Noy a piece of his mind when he found the Pres­i­dent’s choice for a key Cabi­net post less than im­pres­sive.

The other name on the very short short-list of pos­si­ble Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­taries is for­mer Sen­a­tor Mar Roxas who just re­turned last week from a two-month trip to the United States fol­low­ing his less-than-fa­vor­able show­ing in last sum­mer’s na­tional elec­tions.

Roxas, of course, will have to wait for the one-year ap­point­ment ban to end in mid-2011 be­fore he can be ap­pointed to any govern­ment post. Daxim L. Lu­cas

Yet an­other can­di­date

AC­CORD­ING to one Aquino ad­min­is­tra­tion source, “ Mr. Rank­ing Cabi­net Of­fi­cial” is not the only per­son cast­ing a moist eye on the post of Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Leila de Lima.

This source claims that an­other sec­re­tarylevel of­fi­cial who holds of­fice at the Palace is also in­ter­ested in the port­fo­lio if the ma­neu­ver­ing for the trans­fer of Sec. de Lima to the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions suc­ceeds.

This of­fi­cial, who— like Mr. Rank­ing Cabi­net Of­fi­cial— is like­wise in­volved in the le­gal af­fairs of the Palace ( wait, aren’t they all?), has also been crit­i­cized for his less-than-stel­lar per­for­mance dur­ing the five months that he has held his post ( re­mem­ber all those re­called Ex­ec­u­tive Or­ders?).

Who­ever it is, it seems clear that some forces in Mala­cañang want Sec. de Lima to be­come Com­mis­sioner de Lima pretty soon ( even if, or maybe

Nice to Nest­ing

pre­cisely be­cause, she is not aligned with ei­ther of the two Palace fac­tions). Daxim L. Lu­cas ROAD­BLOCKS that used to be thrown in the path of Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas Deputy Gov. Nestor Espe­nilla are dis­ap­pear­ing one by one.

Known as “ Nest­ing” to friend and foe alike, the chief en­forcer of the coun­try’s bank­ing reg­u­la­tor has made many en­e­mies within the cen­tral bank and the broader bank­ing com­mu­nity for push­ing un­pop­u­lar re­forms and for break­ing up a few rack­ets.

Of late, how­ever, peo­ple have be­gun to re­al­ize that Espe­nilla was a batch­mate of Pres­i­dent Aquino dur­ing their high school days at the Ate­neo ( Espe­nilla went to the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines for his col­lege de­gree).

As such, Espe­nilla has un­of­fi­cially be­come a dark horse can­di­date for the gov­er­nor­ship of the cen­tral bank once the term of Gover­nor Amando

Te­tangco Jr. ends in mid-2011. “ All of a sud­den, he is be­ing viewed as a con­tender,” said one banker, who pointed out that some of his peers have soft­ened or qui­eted down their op­po­si­tion to the poli­cies of Espe­nilla, who heads the cen­tral bank’s su­per­vi­sion and ex­am­i­na­tion sec­tor ( es­sen­tially it’s fi­nan­cial po­lice).

“ When you’re a can­di­date, peo­ple in­side and out­side the or­ga­ni­za­tion are sud­denly nice to you, just in case...,” the banker ex­plained.

For what­ever it’s worth, it looks like the over­worked Espe­nilla will be able to get work done faster in the com­ing months. Daxim L. Lu­cas

Fresh­man­date

A NEW busi­ness um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion is be­ing set up to rep­re­sent the “ un­der rep­re­sented” firms based in Manila.

The group— called The Manila Man­date— is be­ing put to­gether by po­lit­i­cal strate­gist and Manileño Tony

Gat­mai­tan to take up the cud­gels for firms whose in­ter­ests are not promi­nently rep­re­sented by groups like the Makati Busi­ness Club or the Philip­pine Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­tries, ac­cord­ing toGat­mai­tan.

In true try­ing-to-re­vive-Manila’sglory fashion, the group will be launched on Fri­day, Dec. 3, at the his­toric Manila Grand Opera House with Mayor Fred Lim as the guest of honor.

For Manila his­tory buffs, the Manila Grand Opera House was once owned by Toribio Teodoro, who also owned Ang Tibay shoes ( the lo­cal Fer­rag­amo of its day, ac­cord­ing to old timers).

The opera house was built us­ing prof­its from his lu­cra­tive sup­ply con­tract with the Philip­pine Army for their com­bat boots needs dur­ing the time of Pres­i­dent Que­zon.

The Manila Grand Opera House was also the venue of the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion back then. Daxim L. Lu­cas

Petron thanks the pipe­line

ONE of the stocks that have per­formed out­stand­ingly well in re­cent weeks— de­spite the broader mar­ket’s de­cline— is Petron Corp.

One pos­si­ble rea­son is spec­u­la­tion over the com­pany’s po­ten­tial gains af­ter the petroleum pipe­line of First Philip­pine In­dus­trial Corp. was dam­aged and shut down, re­sult­ing in sup­ply short­ages for Shell and, to a smaller de­gree, Chevron.

Stock­mar­ket pun­ters have been try­ing to guess how much mar­ket share the fuel re­finer and dis­trib­u­tor would gain due to the gas sta­tion shut­downs of its ri­vals in this in­tensely com­pet­i­tive mar­ket. Won­der no­more. Ac­cord­ing to a cou­ple of in­dus­try sources, the coun­try’ largest petroleum firm has so far man­aged to raise its mar­ket share— which is al­ready the largest— from 40 per­cent to 45 per­cent in re­cen­tweeks.

If you know how dif­fi­cult it is to gain even one per­cent­age point of mar­ket share in the petroleum busi­ness, you’ll know that Petron’s re­cent gains are no laugh­ing mat­ter. Daxim L. Lu­cas

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