WHY should DMCI Holdings Inc. come out in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange with a policy of its own against corruption? Is it because it was anticipating opposition to Torre de Manila, its latest condominium project? The first question, unlike the second, could not be answered by either yes or no because the response to it needs an elaboration.
While the Supreme Court has effectively stopped the construction of the Torre de Manila by issuing a temporary restraining order, the issue or issues against DMCI could get even worse because of bad publicity. The four-letter acronym stands for David M. Consunji Inc.
As public opinion would certainly go against DMCI, there is one very basic question that begs to be answered: Why did it take those who are against the construction of Torre de Manila too long to raise their own objections to the project? As The Manila Times pointed out in an editorial, “eighty-meter tall concrete monoliths do not spring from the Earth overnight, and the time in which questions about the propriety of the project has passed.”
Why have those who are trying to protect the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal at Luneta from the “photobomber” that is Torre de Manila waited for DMCI to build it to as high as 30 stories before opposing the construction? Hasn’t anyone from the antis, for instance, ever been to Luneta and noticed how a new edifice was being built?
By the way, DMCI is a subsidiary of DACON Corp., which owns 6.839 billion DMCI shares or 51.5069 percent. It has for a significant stockholder DFC Holdings Inc., which holds 2.371 billion DMCI shares or 17.8565 percent. Both corporate stockholders are owned by the Consunji family, led by patriarch David M. Consunji, who at 92 years old is chairman of the board.
On June 4, the Philippine Stock Exchange posted on its website a DMCI Holdings filing in which the company disclosed its policy on “anti-corruption and bribery.”
This is the complete text of the DMCI policy on corruption:
“The Company believes that bribery and corruption are unethical, unacceptable and inconsistent with our founding principles.
“We are committed to maintaining the highest possible ethical standards and complying with all applicable laws. In our operations, we seek to avoid even the appearance of impropriety with respect to the actions of our directors, officers and employees.
“This policy prohibits corrupt payments in all circumstances when dealing with government officials or private sector individuals, and provides the following guidelines for strict observance by our directors, officers and employees:
“Act lawfully, ethically and in the public interest
“Prohibit bribery and corruption in our corporate dealings
“Deter illegal or unethical behavior by clients, suppliers or government officials
“Report any such violations based on the existing Whistleblowing Policy of the company.”
Again, there is perhaps more to this anti-corruption policy that DMCI decided to make it public by submitting it to the PSE. It could also be correctly assumed that the company furnished the Securities and Exchange Commission a copy for inclusion in its corporate files. Both submissions are in compliance with the full disclosure rules that govern listed companies whose shares are publicly traded.
As far as the PSE and the SEC are concerned, the DMCI disclosures are necessary to form part of the company’s filings. It may be among the market’s more favored stocks, given the company’s profitability. As of March 31, 2015, it has piled up retained earnings of P40.308 billion classified as “unappropriated,” which means the entire amount could be appropriated or distributed as dividends, either in cash or in stock.
In the first quarter of 2015, it reported a net profit of P4.151 billion, up 19.385 percent from P3.477 billion in the same period in 2014. This came from revenues that went up 21.326 percent to P15.867 billion from P13.078 billion.
By the way, despite the Knights of Rizal and the high court’s TRO against Torre de Manila, the price of DMCI shares closed at P13.48 on Friday, from P13.46 on Thursday.