Who are the Big Money men backing?


Who are the country’s megatycoons backing in the coming presidential elections?

Some alignments are clear as day. Billionaire Danding Cojuangco and his Nationalist People’s Coalition look set to back Senator Grace Poe and her running mate and fellow Senator Francis Escudero, a former NPC stalwart. Assuming, of course, that she is declared a natural-born Filipino and allowed to run for president.

Cojuangco has been mixing politics and business for decades. In 1984 he harnessed his Marcos-era clout over the coconut industry to take over San Miguel Corporation from the Ayala and Soriano families. Now, with oil, power generation, infrastructure, and telecoms added to San Miguel’s beer interests, Cojuangco wants to make sure he still has a friend in the Palace after his nephew, President Benigno Aquino 3rd, steps down in June.

Cojuangco is almost surely supporting Aquino’s Liberal Party and LP standard bearer Secretary Mar Roxas. He owes much to the administration for such niceties as rebidding the Calax expressway project after San Miguel said it was unfairly excluded.

San Miguel also benefits from Aquino’s indecision on the elevated highway project to link North and South Luzon expressways, proposed years ago by the Metro Pacific Group headed by Manny Pangilinan. That enabled San Miguel to make its own proposal. While the NLEX-SLEX link stalls, so do motorists, commuters, and cargo truckers get denied its traffic-easing benefits.

But survey leader Poe offers Cojuangco an even greater prize. Totally dependent on him for campaign money and machinery, Poe would be far more grateful if she wins than Roxas would be, with the LP and its funds behind him. And a Poe victory would build up Cojuangco’s NPC, as politicians flock to the winner’s party.

Another LP supporter is the Ayala Group; its longtime executive Vicky Garchitorena, former Presidential Management Staff head under Gloria Arroyo, is said to be among Roxas’s top campaigners. The conglomerate has been all out in backing Aquino, betting big on public-private partnership projects.

Ayala was incensed that its winning Calax bid was set aside at San Miguel’s behest. But Ayala too got the Department of Transportation and Communication under Roxas to stall the North EDSA station supposed to link the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit lines. DOTC already agreed to build it close to SM North EDSA mall, and accepted P200 million from the Sy family group. As SM and Ayala’s Trinoma Mall joust, hundreds of thousands of commuters trek daily between LRT and MRT lines.

Billionaires will spread their bets
One billionaire pondering whom to support is former senator and defeated 2010 presidential candidate Manny Villar. His Nacionalista Party, part of the ruling coalition, is also mentioned as a possible Poe backer. Plus: NP stalwart Senator Bongbong Marcos is being considered by Vice-President Jejomar Binay for his running mate.

As a property developer dependent on government permits and infrastructure, Villar has reason to have Malacañang on his side. He lost public support in 2010 amid allegations that he used his senatorial clout to get a major road built along his properties.

Besides business reasons for backing the next president, Villar may also want to see the NP expand its ranks and reach to field a future presidentiable like Marcos or Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who has declared his candidacy for vice-president.

From established practice, Chinese Filipino taipans like Henry Sy of SM, Lucio Tan of PAL and Fortune Tobacco, and John Gokongwei of Robina, are expected to support all winnable candidates. So might fellow billionaire Enrique Razon, whose world-class container ports and leisure enterprises require state franchises or contracts to operate, like the even bigger PLDT-Smart, Meralco, Philex Mining, and Metro Pacific expressway ventures run by Manny Pangilinan.

However, with the administration targeting business people allegedly linked to political opponents, like purported Binay dummy Antonio Tiu, no contributors to the VP’s and maybe even Poe’s campaigns would want to be identified.

Dirty money will show its gratitude
Some administration contributors may also want to stay unnamed. Among them: smugglers who have flourished under Aquino. Based on International Monetary Fund trade data, undeclared or undervalued imports tripled from $7.9 billion in 2009 to $26.6 billion last year. Illicit shipments totaled P4 trillion since 2010, evading taxes and duties estimated at P760 billion (see http://www.manilatimes.net/smuggling-utterly-out-of-control-under-aquino-regime-p4-trillion-in-last-five-years/212920/).

Criminals never had it so good, too, with crime incidents also tripling, from 324,083 in 2009 to more than a million annually in 2013 and 2014, when Roxas was supervising the police (see http://www.manilatimes.net/presidentiables-briefing-the-crime-explosion/210493/). That gives the hoods much reason to support a reprise of this administration.

Don’t forget jueteng operators. Back in 2010, Aquino could have cracked down on them by letting then Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who eradicated the illicit numbers game in Naga City, supervise the Philippine National Police. Instead, Aquino tapped his shooting buddy, then DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno, to oversee the PNP, despite being named by Archbishop Oscar Cruz as an “ultimate recipient” of gambling payoffs. Taking over the DILG after Robredo’s death in 2012, Roxas threatened a war on jueteng, but it never came.

Last but not least among likely secret backers are America and China. Washington wants the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement implemented, for its forces to boost deployment and use bases in the country. Beijing opposes the EDCA and seeks bilateral talks to resolve territorial disputes. With the Philippines’ paramount strategic value in Asia, expect the rival superpowers to help their preferred presidentiable win.

With no clear favorite, the tight race means contenders must rake in massive contributions for what will be unprecedented media and grassroots campaign spending. Hence, the next leader’s challenge is plain: advancing the people’s interest when vested interests ask favors for the billions of pesos they wagered on him or her.

Don’t bet on it.


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  1. This is the very same social structure that prompted Mr. Marcos to declare martial law. Before, you have the sugar bloc like the Montelibanos; print like the Roceses; media like the Lopezes and a host of industries that were trying to run the country thru their proxies in the old congress. Are we back to where we were 45 years ago? If we want the same social structure and comfortable with the ruling class running our country, chose from any of the three. But if you want a country where the people are empowered thru financial independence with every Barangay with their own legacy project and everybody having jobs, the choice should never be none of the three. The Philippines have multi trillion assets and the next leader would have to be elected to be able to appropriate these funds directly to each and everyone thru the Barangays.

  2. Napakalinaw ganu kabulok ang sistema ng ating gobyerno! Hindi talaga ang taong bayan ang tunay na “boss” ni PNoy at kahit sino pang presidente at administrasyon! Sila, ang mga “megatycoons” ang tunay na nagpapatakbo sa ating bansa! Kaya laging kawawa ang taong bayan! Anu nga naman ang pake nila kung bumababa ang stado ng edukasyon, nagtataasan presyo ng pagkain, tuluyang pagbulok ng MRT/LRT/PNR na hindi nila ginagamit at lalong humihirap ang estado ng ating buhay? Tuloy pa rin naman ang ating pagtangkilik sa kanilang mga malls, produkto at dahil sa PPP, mga “public utilities” garantisadong lahat ng kilos natin eh pinakikinabangan nila! Kayang-kaya nila gaguhin ang taong bayan kasi madaling malibang at makalimot dahil sa mga Aldub at pastillas girl na umuubos ng ating oras at pansin.

    Gising Pilipinas!!!! Matagal na tayong ginagago ng mga negosyante at pulitiko! Sila lang ang tunay na nakikinabang sa pag “asenso” daw ng ating bansa!

    Kawawang mga Filipino!

  3. Danny Cascolan on

    CWe have shunned direct colonialism and feudalism by foreign design, but our social system is being circumvented to the vassalage of neoliberalization even breaching protection of our Constitution. ( the irony of makabayan bloc That lip serviced class equality and egalitarianism but serves really as fronts that at critical moments protect the oligarchy and helps supports people circumventing our nation to neoliberalism )

    This is the corruption in the government, so what are we gonna do, put them in power over us and lord dominion over our nation till they have sold everything rightful ownership and sovereignty of the people to the last of our very bones?

    Of course I believe that in the course of law example bengzon vs hret, it is possible that the judges were erroneous in their ruling, and the present court like in the case of GP now can reverse the ruling, if logic points out the mistake and error, compromising critically the nation and perfect citizenship definition.

    The bengzon vs HRET made a citizenship ridiculously unlosable though there was a nationality change of allegiance, it did as if there was none which is ofcourse false.

    Otherwise the constitution would have not said that citizenship can be LOST ny manner of law, the bengzon vs HRET has interpreted that constitutional provision in substance as citizenship can be SUSPENDED by manner of law.

    Excerpt commentary,
    Every lawyer, law maker and Judge must be critical and most excellent in applying logic of laws in specificities to attain Justice. – Danny Cascolan

    This should not confuse you,
    ‘Natural born’ description in biological terms is different from ‘Natural born’ as specified sub classification of citizenship. The Law defining ‘natural born’ is not an essence of biology but of circumstance,the pod basis is being born in the pure state without further modification of laws to perfect the ‘natural born’ citizenship.
    Whilst the biological ‘natural born’ has biological permanence, the legal status sub classification of citizenship may not be permanent since citizenship can be modified and lost by Law. Always the referencing of Laws in a new circumstance is by previous incidence and fact.
    For example, when you change to another citizenship, you have lost your legal allegiance to your previous citizenship ofcourse and all of the sub classifications, when you change to filipino citizenship you have lost your legal allegiance to your previous american citizenship and all of its sub classifications, the reference in that instance is your previous citizenship ( new circumstance ) not the citizenship you had before you had the previous citizenship. Therefore you cant be under the pod basis of being born in the pure state ( perfect ) in the circumstance requirement of ‘natural born’ citizenship , there is already modification of law to the acquisition of citizenship. Therefore the logic, you have acquired ‘naturalization’ in citizenship.

  4. Amnata Pundit on

    All this big money should form their own parties and vie for the presidency instead wielding power through proxies/trapos. Ramon Ang vs Manny Pangilinan for example, will be a more highly interesting contest than Poe vs Binay vs Roxas. To start with, the IQ of just one of these two CEOs cannot be matched by the combined IQ of those three trapos. As far as executive ability is concerned, there is no contest between these two CEOs and those three trapos, is there?After all, we are a plutocracy, so lets cut all this pretentious bullshit and just openly declare it to the world.

  5. Sickening! Maybe a knight in shining armor will step up to save the Philippines from these oligarchs!! Will Filipinos ever learn?

    Cardinal Tagle, please speak up and follow the example of Pope Francis! The Pope does not hesitate to speak up on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and the downtrodden. It is not enough to say “let us pray”!. The time to act is now!! Spare the Philippines from a Manchurian president!

    • i do not expect cardinal tagle to even hint on whom to vote. after all, he is still silent on the 12Million UNACCOUNTED VOTES FROM LAST ELECTIONS due to the magic done by smartmatic-comelec gang. jarius bondoc and lagman etc have been hammering on the magical hocus pcos machines but the comelec gang with its new chair refused to listen. the 12M unaccounted votes was revealed by enrile when he came back to the senate. remember he showed the letter of ppcrv chair de villa to the comelec. ppcrv, which is the election watchdog of the citizens and the catholic church, hid this anomaly. ppcrv, by its action, condoned or agreed to the proclamation of the 2013 election winners. NOW WE ARE AGAIN TO EXPERIENCE THIS COMING 2016 ELECTIONS THE CHEATING BY THE SMARTMATIC-COMELEC MAFIA. BTW, DID YOU READ THE COLUMN OF JARIUS BONDOC AT THE PHILSTAR A FEW DAYS AGO THAT VG (GARCI???) AND OTHERS ‘ELECTION MANIPULATORS’ ARE ACTIVATED BY THE LOWESTSURVEY RANKING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO HELP HIM ‘CHEAT’ BY RIGGING THE RESULTS BY PROVINCE DOVETAILING THE RIGGED SWS AND PULSE SURVEYS.

  6. walang masama kahit makinabang ang mga negosyateng sumusuporta sa mga kandidato na pinopondohan nila . Ang masakit ay yung proyektong na aprobahan na ay ipahihinto maibigay lang sa kaibigan at kung sino ang magbibigay ng malaking halaga upang gawin ito. Ito ang nakakataas ng dugo,hindi lang ganid ang maitatawag mo sa mga official na komokontrol dito ,Mala demonyo na ugali ganito. Ang mabigat pati batas ay nakiakipagsabwatan na rin sa mga buwitre.