Victory for whom?

It was saddening, frustrating and alarming to hear Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. and his friend Jesus Arranza announce their “achievement” of buying back the 753-million SMC shares worth P57 billion. Cojuangco said, “We have achieved our objective of giving the coconut farmers and the industry the means for them to regain their competitiveness through the use of these funds” (Inquirer, 12/5/12). Arranza added, “These funds come at the most opportune time for the farmers as we have to prepare the coconut industry against competition coming from palm oil” (Inquirer, 10/5/12). These announcements made it look like these two gentlemen had the interests of the coconut farmers at heart. What a farce! Coconut farmers continue to demand:  Ibalik 100 percent ang coconut levy fund sa magniniyog nang walang bawas! (Give back to coconut farmers the coconut levy fund 100 percent, without any deduction.)

When the coconut levy money was finally recovered and reappeared last Oct. 5, San Miguel Corp. bought back the 24- percent SMC shares at P75/share even though the current trading price averaged at around P110/share. If the buyback price of SMC shares was pegged at P110/share, the government and coconut farmers could have gotten P82.8 billion. Ironically, SMC (Ramon Ang and Roberto Ongpin) and Cojuangco would have earned a whopping P25.8 billion, no sweat. They would have made billions of pesos by simply converting the SMC common shares to preferred shares. If anyone says this buyback transaction is not grossly disadvantageous to the farmers, what is it? If this is not injustice, what is?

This transaction was made possible when the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that converting the 24-percent SMC shares (government and coconut farmer shares) from common to preferred shares favored the beneficial owners. With the conclusion of the transaction on Oct. 5, 2012, sadly, the contrary objective was achieved—the farmers ended up at the losing end!

The sadder element about the Oct. 25 transaction was that both the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Malacañang’s Task Force Coconut Levy, two agencies tasked to protect the public interest of the government and the coconut farmers, allowed this buyback without raising any reservations or manifestations questioning the buyback’s unfairness to the coconut levy money’s beneficial owners. Worse, the P57-billion fund will be deposited in UCPB, a bank controlled by Cojuangco. Clearly, UCPB will be a milking cow of… guess who? With this sad turn of events, it will not surprise anyone if Cojuangco’s Cocofed ends up managing the P57-billion coconut trust fund! The UCPB, Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and other coconut levy-funded corporations are now controlled by Cojuangco’s minions. Is this matuwid na daan (right path)?

The 24- and 27-percent SMC shares comprise the 51-percent SMC shares acquired through coconut levy money. The two others are the 20 percent SMC shares being claimed by Cojuangco and 4 percent held by UCPB as treasury shares.


executive director, Centro Saka Inc.,


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

No related posts found!

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=39252

Tags: coconut levy fund , Eduardo `danding’ cojuangco , farmers , letters , preferred shares

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Marketplace