Ex-Ateneo head quits PLDT; Black staysBy Paolo G. Montecillo, Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Manuel V. Pangilinan group and his alma mater Ateneo de Manila University are severing ties following a very public falling out due to “irreconcilable differences” on key issues.
The latest development in the ongoing saga is the resignation of Rev. Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, a former Ateneo president, as an independent director for Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), which Pangilinan chairs.
On the other hand, Norman Black, a PLDT employee, had offered to resign as head coach of Ateneo’s basketball team, but the businessman rejected the offer, concerned that the team would suffer in its current campaign for a fifth UAAP championship.
“His blanket pullout of support from Ateneo put me in a difficult situation,” Black told the Inquirer yesterday in a telephone interview from Hong Kong after a meeting with Pangilinan there. “For nine years, I’ve been employed by PLDT. So when he pulled out, I also felt obligated to do the same. He’s been loyal and good to me all these years. Since I work for him, I felt it was my responsibility to do it.”
Nebres was, until last Tuesday, also chairman of the PLDT’s audit committee, and a member of the telco’s executive compensation, governance and nominations committees.
Nebres has been part of the PLDT board since 1998. According to PLDT’s 2011 annual report, Nebres was elected independent director of PLDT subsidiary Digitel Telecommunications Philippines.
“The board expressed their sincerest gratitude to Fr. Nebres for his long and invaluable service to the board, its committees and the company,” a PLDT disclosure said Tuesday.
Pangilinan said irreconcilable differences on the issues of mining and the pending reproductive health bill as reasons for severing ties with the school completely.
Pangilinan said the “major concerns” cited in his letter to Ateneo president Jose Ramon T. Villarin were “by all means not complete or exhaustive.”
In a memo to the Ateneo community Tuesday, Villarin announced that Pangilinan, in a letter dated Sept. 21, told him about the businessman’s decision for “complete and final disengagement from the Ateneo” on account of the document “The Golden Mean in Mining: Talking Points” issued by the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate.
Jesuit Provincial Fr. Jose Magadia has shared these talking points with its ministries for study and discussion, Villarin said.
“As we accept this decision with sadness, we honor it with profound respect. Through the years, MVP’s presence and support in various capacities have helped the Ateneo achieve its mission and deepen its identity. Let us continue to accord him the gratitude and respect he deserves as an exceptional alumnus and leader,” he said.
Black flew to Hong Kong on Monday to discuss with Pangilinan the team’s next moves.
“We’ll finish what we started,” said Black, who took over in 2005 and steered the Blue Eagles to four straight crowns from 2008.
Grateful for gesture
“Despite his differences with the school, he feels the team shouldn’t suffer. I’m quite happy he said that because I also don’t want to pull out of my last few games in Ateneo. His heart is still with the team and the players. He’ll continue to support the team until the end of the season.”
“We are grateful to MVP for this gesture,” Villarin said in a statement Tuesday.
Even before the season, Black already announced that he was calling the shots for the Eagles for the last time before moving back to the pro league as head coach of Talk ’N Text.
But Black said his focus would still be on Ateneo’s campaign even when the PBA semifinal round begins on Sunday.
“Definitely there will be a conflict,” said Black. “There will be an overlap in the first few weeks, so [TNT assistant coach] Nash Racela will take over first.”
According to Pangilinan, Bo Perasol, the former PBA coach set to take over Black, also need not worry.
“I’ll take care of coach Bo, because I had a hand in recruiting him,” Pangilinan said in a recent interview in the Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo. “I won’t abandon coach Bo.”
Pangilinan however said he would no longer be a fixture in the Ateneo gallery. “It’s over,” he said. With a report from Musong Castillo