San Miguel Philippine government to charge Estrada

A December 2001 news statement reported that the Philippine government would file criminal charges against the appointees of ousted leader Joseph Estrada to the board of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) for the…

A December 2001 news statement reported that the Philippine government would file criminal charges against the appointees of ousted leader Joseph Estrada to the board of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) for their refusal to relinquish their seats to appointees of the Arroyo administration. This was disclosed by Ruben Carranza, commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the government agency set up in 1986 to recover alleged ill-gotten wealth acquired by the late president Ferdinand Marcos and his allies. In 1986, the PCGG seized a substantial block of shares in SMC, enough for a five-board-seat representation in the company, on grounds the shares were allegedly acquired using coconut levy funds collected by the government for the development of the coconut industry during the Marcos administration. The group of SMC chairman Eduardo Cojuangco, a Marcos and Estrada ally, has contested the PCGG“s argument, saying the SMC shares were acquired using private funds. The Supreme Court ruled that the coconut levy funds are government funds, emboldening the PCGG to prepare charges against the Estrada appointees. The Estrada appointees, Raul De Guzman, Espiridion Laxa, Hermogenes Tantoco, Allan Lee, and Benjamin Paulino, said that they can be removed only during the annual stockholders“ meeting early in 2002, where the PCGG can nominate their successors.