On stock ex­changes and beauty pageants

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - MARY ANN LL. REYES For com­ments, e-mail at [email protected]­me­dia.com

What do stock ex­changes and beauty pageants have in com­mon?

Not much, ex­cept that in this coun­try, the lo­cal stock ex­change and one par­tic­u­lar beauty pageant are headed by one and the same per­son.

But be­fore we get into this, let us first re­call one par­tic­u­lar in­ci­dent that has brought the coun­try more shame, as if we have not had an over­dose of it.

When busi­ness­man Amado Cruz at­tained a cer­tain de­gree or pop­u­lar­ity or no­to­ri­ety af­ter some con­tes­tants cried sex­ual ha­rass­ment com­mit­ted to them on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in con­nec­tion with the stag­ing of this year’s Miss Earth pageant, many ne­ti­zens, in­clud­ing this writer, searched on­line for his back­ground and pic­ture.

In­deed there were a few pic­tures of him, but noth­ing else. How could he af­ford to spon­sor a pageant like Miss Earth and what busi­ness was he into?

In­formed sources how­ever re­vealed that Cruz is chair­man of the con­struc­tion firm Off­shore Con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment Co. (OCDC) which won two con­tracts with the In­tra­muros Ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Depart­ment of Tourism in 1998, dur­ing the pres­i­dency of Joseph Estrada.

The court found out that he and Dom­i­nador Fer­rer Jr., then head of IA, vi­o­lated most rules on govern­ment projects in the book, such as con­struct­ing struc­tures with­out build­ing per­mits, etc. As a re­sult of this, Fer­rer was named re­spon­dent in a graft case with the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man.

In June, 2018, the Sandi­gan­bayan ruled that Fer­rer was guilty of graft for al­low­ing Cruz to con­struct build­ings in­side the Walled City with­out a build­ing per­mit and clear­ances, and sen­tenced him to a prison term of from eight to 10 years. Doc­u­ments and let­ters from Cruz be­came strong and damn­ing ev­i­dence in this case, ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per re­ports.

Those in the know about beauty pageants say that these type of char­ac­ters abound in beauty con­tests like preda­tors look­ing for prey in the sa­van­nah, some of them promis­ing the crown in ex­change for sex­ual fa­vors, as Miss Earth Canada and Miss Earth Eng­land claim Cruz did.

Those in the know about govern­ment con­tracts and bid­ding pro­cesses will tell you, too, that big money, ex­pen­sive gifts and trips lo­cal or abroad, and even pretty girls for sex are items dis­cussed by con­trac­tors and govern­ment of­fi­cials au­tho­rized to give out con­tracts.

That’s the way it is in beauty pageants and big-ticket projects.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, Cruz, who styles him­self as a friend to top politi­cians and of­fi­cials both in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, was too im­por­tant a spon­sor to merit a strong re­buke from Carousel Pro­duc­tions, led by ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Lor­raine Schuck. The most he re­ceived was a slap on the wrist from Schuck, while the com­plain­ing beau­ties got a dress­ing down for turn­ing to so­cial me­dia to air their griev­ances.

Schuck’s kid-glove treat­ment of Cruz must have been part of com­pany pol­icy on how to deal with spon­sors. The ques­tion be­ing asked by many is, whether or not Carousel Pro­duc­tions’ chair­man and founder, Ra­mon Mon­zon, in­flu­ences pol­icy in the com­pany?

Mon­zon has been quiet on this is­sue for quite a long time now. In­ci­den­tally, he is also pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Philip­pine Stock Ex­change (PSE).

It is rea­son­able to as­sume that char­ac­ter, man­age­ment style and pro­bity are qual­i­ties that one must have, whether one is man­ag­ing a beauty pageant or the coun­try’s only stock mar­ket.

The PSE has not been spared from crit­i­cism. Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez him­self has ques­tioned why af­ter sev­eral years, the bourse has not yet com­plied with the 20 per­cent own­er­ship re­quire­ment of the law for stock bro­kers.

There is also this mat­ter about the lo­cal bourse be­ing over­taken by the Land­bank in the bid to buy the Philip­pine Deal­ing Sys­tem Inc.

Does Mon­zon’s lead­er­ship style have any­thing to do with these fail­ures? We of course would like to know what he has to say about all these.

Not so hid­den agenda

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Sotto III has ex­pressed his sup­port to the new Manila Yacht Club Com­modore Robert “Bobby” Joseph’s Manila Bay cleanup ad­vo­cacy.

The ad­vo­cacy was an­nounced by Joseph dur­ing his of­fi­cial turnover as com­modore at the “Open­ing Day Cer­e­monies and Sail Pass for 2018-2019” with Sotto as the guest of honor.

Ac­cord­ing to Joseph, the coun­try has the best en­vi­ron­men­tal laws in the world, which just need to be im­ple­ment prop­erly. Joseph said he will be meet­ing with the Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMDA) to dis­cuss how to im­ple­ment the law all the way to the barangay level and teach them about en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

He added that Manila Bay can still be saved and it’s about time the Manila Yacht Club fo­cuses on this gar­gan­tuan prob­lem that af­fects the e-com­merce and tourism of the coun­try.

Sotto also com­mended the Manila Yacht Club for plac­ing the Philip­pines on the global yacht­ing map, say­ing that its mem­bers are among the most es­teemed and re­spected in their own fields.

Shown in photo are Joseph (2nd from right) and (from left) Sotto, past com­modore Grepo ‘Butch’ Bel­gica, Rear Com­modore Ilde­fonso Tron­qued and past com­modore Fran­cisco Gar­cia wit­ness­ing the ‘Sail Pass’ from MYC Fleet salut­ing the new com­modore.

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