• ‘Cuisia may have violated law’

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    Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. may have violated certain provisions of the Foreign Service Act when he took on official positions in several private companies in the country, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) told The Manila Times on Monday.

    The official, who refused to be identified, said ambassadors are not allowed to hold positions in private companies “to avoid and prevent situations where their being the country’s representative might be compromised by commercial and personal interests.”

    Cuisia, according to the column of former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao in The Manila Times, holds several high-ranking positions in private companies such as SM Prime Holdings, Philippine Investment Management Inc. (Phinma), American Life and General Insurance, Ayalas’ Manila Water Co., Holcim Philippines, Integra Business Processing Solutions, ICCP Holdings, Beacon Property Ventures and The Covenant Car Company.

    Tiglao said that Cuisia actively attends board meetings and is engaged in the running of the companies where he is also named as chair of some of its most vital committees like SM Prime’s Risk Management and Audit Committee and Phinma’s compensation committee. He said that because of the sheer number of board meetings that Cuisia has to attend in the Philippines, the ambassador is out of his US post from three days to a week every month.

    Cuisia, Tiglao said, is also a member of Phinma’s executive board and of SM Prime’s Nomination Committee.

    The envoy’s monthly travels requires the approval of the President and Foreign Affairs Secretary

    “The foreign secretary has to formally issue a document appointing a chargé d’affaires, or the official in charge of the Embassy while he ambassador is away. Not only that. The embassy has to report to the State Department (or the foreign affairs ministry in other countries) that the ambassador is not in the country, and that the chargé d’affaires will temporarily represent the nation. I doubt if Cuisia bothered with these required documentation.

    ”All these paper work only emphasizes the fact that part of an ambassador’s job description is that he can leave his post only for official reasons or in an emergency. I wonder how Cuisia justified his board meetings with Phinma, SM and the other eight companies as “attending to official matters,” Tiglao, who was once the country’s ambassador to Greece, said.

    The source told The Times that “[being]chair of private companies could also divide their [ambassadors’] attention.”

    The only exception, the official said, is if the President allowed a political appointee an arrangement where the ambassador can keep his or her positions in private companies even if the envoy is still in his foreign posting.

    This arrangement is not available to a career ambassador.

    Cuisia is a political appointee of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. His papers were signed in November 2010 after he accompanied Mr. Aquino as a member of the business delegation in his September 2010 trip to Washington.

    An ambassador acts as the President’s “alter ego,” the source added, which requires him or her to represent the country in the best way possible.

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    9 Comments

    1. please do not let your readers speculate upon reading your column…from the title itself ‘Cuisia MAY have violated law’ then why you use MAY? does this mean you are not sure of what you are writing…this will mislead the people…you should have to be very specific in your statement (indicate the foreign affairs policy to be understood absolutely by your readers)…just like mr. tiglao…he did not even indicated in his column yesterday his point…and just like what i have commented it will be considered only as delicadeza issue.

      he attended board meetings…when did he attended? do you have records of this? can you show proofs that he left his office to be in any of the meetings he has to attend to to fulfill his function in the private firms where he is holding various executive post?

      i do hope that what is written in your column are not speculations…

    2. Cuisia’s honoraria could be more or less P500,000.00 a month, if he attends board meetings in all the private firms stated by Mr. Tiglao, taking into account the honoraria of the Board of SSS, in the amount of P40,000.00 per board meeting. Plus the remuneration he receives from the Philippine government as Ambassador to the US. NOYNOY TAKE ACTION ASAP! NAKAKAHIYA ! KAPAL MUKHA!

    3. Law in PI under this administration is applied only to opposition and or helpless people…

      If president p’noy have no respect for the law and the constitution, it is not surprising that all his allies and subordinates and lapdogs does the same even defying the highest court. Our El presidente turns deaf and blind when it comes to his erring ka-alyado, attack and lapdogs… He is quick to investigate, charge and condemn people who is not his KKK or ka-alyado…

    4. what is the point of this story: “The only exception, the official said, is if the President allowed a political appointee an arrangement where the ambassador can keep his or her positions in private companies even if the envoy is still in his foreign posting.”

      “Cuisia is a political appointee of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.”

      how did he violate the law?

      • Hahaha some people are so naive. Kailangan ba yung batas nakasulat sa libro. Meron tayo ng: Batas ng kalikasan, Batas ng delicadeza, Batas ng kunsensya, Batas ng Diyos. Talaga nga naman, madali Ang maging Tao subalit ang magpakatao sadyang napakahirap!

    5. A worse situation exists at DTI where a Commercial Counsellor assigned to Osaka is out of post 90% of the time, without informing the Ambassador or Consul General, but with authority from DTI management ostensibly to carry out diversified assignments from the Secretary. This year alone, he came home on official travel 20+ times and in the last 3 department orders, he was able to secure UNDP rates in his travels to Manila. What is the sense of his having been assigned to Japan if he is not able to carry out his functions as Commercial Counsellor there ? What is the sense of his carrying out so many unrelated tasks in Manila purportedly on behalf of the Secretary?

    6. He has violated provision of RA 6713 on Divestment. all government officials and employees should divest their interests in corporations, companies, etc before holding a post in the government.. he violated also 3019 on graft and corruption. A case should be file against him at the Office of the Ombudsman.

    7. That’s it. Consistency prevails in the PNoy administration and it is that it does not follow the law. The administration just do not respect the law. Period.