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SMC: Philppine government can“t stop Cojuangco

The presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said recently it would have no control over who is able to buy the disputed 47% of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) shares allegedly bought with coco levy …

The presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said recently it would have no control over who is able to buy the disputed 47% of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) shares allegedly bought with coco levy funds after the Sandiganbayan finally disposes of the coco levy cases. And whether business tycoon and SMC chair Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. is able to buy those shares and retain control of the food and beverage conglomerate was a “possibility that is obviously not within the absolute control of the PCGG,” PCGG commissioner Ruben Carranza said. “The courts could rule against the PCGG. SMC shareholders could sell all their shares to Cojuangco,” Carranza said. Even if the courts were to rule that the entire 47% block of shares – including the 20% being contested by Cojuangco – were public funds, “competitive rules on the disposal of government assets require competitive public bidding,” he said. It was not the PCGG but the law that would decide who would be eligible to bid, Carranza said. The Supreme Court has already determined that the coco levy funds used to buy 27% out of the disputed 47% of SMC shares under the name of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) were “prima facie public funds.” The high tribunal gave the Sandiganbayan six months, or until September, to make a final determination of the nature of the coco levy funds. The remaining 20% shares in Cojuangco“s name are still under the control of the Marcos crony who had been deputized to administer the coco levy by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

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