It’s always business
May 28, 2008 § 1 Comment
During the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA incident, the administration of Cory Aquino quickly moved to seize properties illegally acquired by the Marcoses. Illegal monies invested by the Marcoses in legitimate businesses such as San Miguel Corporation (SMC) were scrutinized. Government tried to get their share of the pot by installing their own representatives to the board. Some businesses were similarly put to the legal test through outright acquisition or sequestration while others successfully extricated themselves from government intervention by getting court victories. By and large, victory was on the side of the business community, relegating government to just the crumbs of the Marcos largesse.
Everywhere, in all fights, its government that loses and big businesses win.
In this fight against the Lopezes over Meralco, government claims it could win this largely because of the alleged infraction made by the Lopezes in invalidating the SEC ruling. Winston Garcia said that whether Manolo Lopez likes it or not, GSIS will move to oust him from his seat. Meralco has until Friday (May 30) to explain its side before the SEC. What would SEC do should Meralco refuses to heed the Cease and Desist order (CDO)? Will it use the police powers of the state to enforce government laws? Will it go to court, as what some quarters believe, and manipulate the justice system to favor government?
If this goes to court, the decision could prolong the agony of Meralco stockholders. Uncertainties drive markets down. A long-drawn out battle for Meralco control could affect the performance of the local bourse. Just yesterday, Meralco shares went down to 60 pesos per share from 63 pesos the day previous. Reports say stockholders were dumping their shares, exiting early while the price is still within manageable risk. Stock prices are down 20% since GSIS started its campaign to wrest control of Meralco.
GSIS should be convinced to stay its ground and allow the firm to govern itself. Government interference is always a bane to business interests. If this continues, expect a further diminution in Meralco’s stocks, making it one of the biggest losers in the local bourse.
This is the first time in Philippine history that government is increasing its predatorian tactics to the detriment of eveybody.