Faces of the News: Nov. 17, 2019
Dennis Uy announced last week that a unit of his Udenna Corp. has acquired the 45-percent interest of Chevron Philippines Inc. in the Malampaya natural gas project. This is not Uy’s first attempt at a foothold in the upstream petroleum business, having initiated a P4-billion share purchase agreement with Manuel Pangilinan’s PXP Energy Corp. over the past year. The deal was “mutually” called off last March, two days before Uy’s deadline to pay up. PXP is now posing a challenge to Udenna’s deal with Chevron as the Pangilinan group is eyeing the use of the Malampaya assets to develop its own Sampaguita gas field at Recto Bank. Chevron has been as reticent, confirming only that it has signed a sale agreement to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.
John Gokongwei Jr.
John Gokongwei Jr.—the taipan whose game-changing businesses helped bring air travel and mobile phone services to the Filipino masses—passed away on Nov. 9, at the age of 93. With a net worth estimated at $5.3 billion, the famously frugal founder of JG Summit conglomerate was also a generous philanthropist who gave away half of his fortune to charitable endeavors, especially in the field of education. Of the 30 blue chip firms in the local stock market index, four are controlled by the Gokongweis—JG Summit Holdings Inc., Robinsons Land Corp., Universal Robina Corp. and Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. A day after Gokongwei was laid to rest, the family announced that their matriarch and his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth, had passed away on Nov. 16.
The littlest guy on the court shone brightest for the University of Santo Tomas (UST) as the Tigers overcame a twice-to-beat burden to bundle out No. 2 seed and favored University of the Philippines (UP) Maroons. Renzo Subido drained the dagger triple that sealed a 68-65 victory for the Tigers and changed the UST narrative built around the likes of Soulemane Chabi Yo, Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy. With the Tigers down two in the last 30 seconds of the game, Subido found himself isolated against UP’s Bright Akhuetie. Noticing Akhuetie’s hesitation, Subido let loose the triple that saved UST’s season. His heroics allowed No. 4 UST to trek to the championship against undefeated Ateneo and earned Subido his place in Tigers basketball lore.
Jeanine Añez and Evo Morales
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous and longest serving president, resigned last Sunday after weeks of protests over his controversial reelection on Oct. 20 and subsequent insistence on a fourth term despite limitations set by the country’s constitution. On Nov. 10, the head of Bolivia’s military asked Morales to step down, forcing him to resign and ending his over 13 years’ hold on power after rising as a leader of the South American country’s coca growers. Other top government leaders also resigned, leaving a virtually unknown deputy lawmaker in Bolivia’s senate, Jeanine Añez, as Morales’ constitutionally mandated successor. A proud Christian, Añez declared a return of the Bible and religion to the presidential palace after Morales, a socialist, banished them.
Former Isabela governor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Grace Padaca has been found guilty of graft and malversation. In Friday’s Sandiganbayan ruling, Padaca was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for the malversation charge and up to 14 years for graft. Padaca was also ordered to pay an P18 million fine, and another P18 million with a 6-percent interest a year to the province of Isabela. The charges stemmed from Padaca’s awarding of P25 million in agricultural funds to a nongovernmental organization without public bidding and in violation of procurement regulations. After the verdict was read, an emotional Padaca described the ruling as “totally unexpected.” “Hindi ako magnanakaw! (I am not a thief)” she said. “I have never abused public funds.”
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