THE two Cayetano children in the Senate may want to look back to the days when BW Resources Corp. (BWRC) was the “apple of the eye” of Congress. Perhaps they were then still too young to remember that the company, which was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, was investigated by the Senate in aid of legislation. What happened to said congressional inquiry?
Today, the most crucial question that begs an answer about this case is this: Who benefited from the unusual surge in the price of BWRC shares? Perhaps Alan and Pia Cayetano would know the answer. Even Teofisto Guingona 3rd is welcome to volunteer a response if he had listened to his old man’s “I accuse” privilege speech in the Senate. He might even know the direct object of the transitive verb his father used.
Perhaps it would do the public some good if the Cayetanos would review the events that led to the alleged manipulation in the trading of BWRC shares. Imagine a listed company without so much to show for financials that its stock price even plunged below its par value of P1. Yet BWRC recovered very fast that it even topped P100 per share!
These honorable senators, particularly Cayetano the son and Guingona, should look back to the events that led to the ouster of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. They should be studious enough to learn a lesson or two on how to kill a business, like what the senators had done to BWRC. Of course, to them and their fellow senator, Antonio Trillanes IV, BWRC would not ring even a bell. Neither would anyone of them be expected to know that a foreign investor from Macau was once the chairman of the company’s board.
Incidentally, though not surprisingly, Trillanes would be remembered as the soldier turned rebel. Would he and his supporters have shown the same bravery if they were not armed and did not have the guns that they tried to use against the more peace-loving Filipinos? In the first place, those guns were bought with taxpayers’ money.
Yes, the adventure made Trillanes famous. He ran for senator and—unluckily for me and possibly a few others who also do not believe in him—he won.
By the way, I beg Trillanes not to send me Christmas card. I don’t collect mementoes from politicians. Besides, I feel guilty whenever I remember the holiday card that he sent me last year because I am afraid my name would appear in the list of beneficiaries of his pork barrel.
Back to BWRC. The present breed of lawmakers, including the fastest readers among district representatives who decided to send the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona to the Senate, should finish an unfinished business. If the legislators back in 2000 and 2001 used BWRC only for media mileage, their counterparts today should make it their responsibility to enact a law that would protect the investing public from stock market manipulators.
The Cayetanos, Trillanes, and other more talkative senators should search for the truth behind the BWRC manipulation scandal. Who knows, this truth might lead them to a better understanding of the stock market, the listed companies and closed but family-owned corporations. They might even decide to focus their energy on people-oriented legislation and would hopefully leave private business alone.
Meanwhile, here is the truth as this writer knows it to be: BWRC, where BW stands for Best World, did not die; it only changed identity. It has changed names. When I wrote about it, its name was – and still is – Suntrust Home Developers Inc., which belongs to the group of companies controlled by businessman Andrew Tan, who is not related to Dante Tan.
Suntrust, however, was also known briefly among market investors as Fairmont Holdings Inc., which, took over Ramie Textiles Inc. The takeover enabled Tan – Dante – to list his business via what is known as backdoor listing.
The story of the death of BWRC as a listed company is retold here to remind the members of Congress to leave the investigation of private companies to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials who, no doubt, have used their expertise not for media exposure as politicians like Trillanes, Cayetano the son have been doing. What for are the five members of the regulatory agency if legislators would continue arrogating to themselves the duty of policing the private sector?
Trillanes and Alan Cayetano may be eyeing higher elective posts, but they should not project their ambitions at the expense of business. Why don’t they try accessing www.pse.com.ph and look for the listed company owned by businessman Antonio Tiu and other stockholders, some of them foreigners.
If they are honestly working for the people, then these honorable legislators should turn their inquisitions on the Bureau of Internal Revenue and ask Commissioner Kim Henares why she had not collected or refused to collect the P1.51 billion tax deficiency of Golden Donuts Inc. for the year 2007. Is she afraid of the owners of the company because they also control The Philippine Daily Inquirer?