POSTSCRIPT / February 1, 2000 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Ho’s problems are reducible to money

YOU’RE just watching the fireworks and the dragon dance. Don’t ever think that all that noise and smoke will scare away Macau dealer Stanley Ho. A grizzled player in this rough and tumble world, he would know how to play it.

If you come right down to it, all of his operational problems here can be measured, and eventually solved, by money. Of which he has plenty.

One morning we’ll just wake up with him firmly dealing out the cards in Manila, freely walking the red-carpeted bridge connecting the two Palaces – one by the Pasig and another anchored by the bay.

Ho’s billions will see to that.

* * *

ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources Secretary Antonio Cerilles is throwing thunderbolts from his Diliman redoubt in the direction of the Jumbo Palace restaurant of Ho docked behind the Folk Arts Theater. The secretary is just being naturally resourceful.

But watch carefully. In a short while, the four-deck jumbo resto would suddenly be declared in compliance with Cerilles’ rules. Bantayan ninyo!

If you notice, there’s now a contented silence over at the Pasay City Hall that was earlier claiming jurisdiction over the Jumbo and threatening to derail its inauguration.

Our feng shui friend tells us that deep into this year of the dragon, objections to Ho’s presence and the smell of his money will die down one by one, with the exception of principled opposition by student groups.

* * *

IF Cerilles means what he’s saying, he should be consistent. We dare him to send his gofers to check with as much zeal the sewage disposal system of all hotels and restaurants along Roxas Blvd. also dumping wastes into the bay.

Any establishment found with a working waste treatment system that exceeds the standards of Ho’s Jumbo should be given a special plaque in glittering ceremonies at the Palace — the one by the Pasig — with no less than President Estrada doing the honors.

The Jumbo was towed from Hong Kong (literally means “Fragrant Harbor,” which it presumably used to be) together with its high-tech waste treatment system duly approved by no-nonsense HK authorities.

To show you how updated Cerilles’ sanitary inspectors were, they were already staring at the Jumbo’s treatment system but did not know it. Such HK devices are probably not on their collection of pictures of poso negro(septic tank) designs.

* * *

AS for Cardinal Sin, the objecting archbishop of Manila, Ho is well advised to consult Pagcor chairman Alice Reyes on how to win friends and influence people in the church before he hies off to the archbishop’s palace. (Yes, still another palace!)

For his audience with His Eminence, Sir Stanley can don his papal awardee’s costume, complete with headgear, sash, medallions, sword and his… well, huh, you can’t travel without it… then kneel and kiss the ring of Cardinal Sin.

Arranging the call should not be a problem. If Sin finds it in his heart to break bread even with sleazy motel operators and assorted characters, there is no reason not to receive a Chinese restaurateur.

Of course, it would help if on his way out, Ho remembers to leave some hefty donation to the Cardinal’s favorite charity.

Ganoon.

* * *

OVER at the Philippine Stock Exchange, the investigation into the trading of share prices of BW Resource Corp. initially showed that from Oct. 4 to Oct. 14 when the unusual rise and fall of prices were recorded, some directors and officers of top brokerage firms and their relatives were among the heavy traders

Records showed that BW’s Dante Tan actively bought and sold shares of his own company. He also held accounts in several brokerage firms such as PCCI, Belson, AT de Castro, Angping, Wise and Solar Securities.

However, since there is nothing illegal about traders making money when they play the stock market, investigators are reportedly hard put to find violations in the case of Tan, a major BW shareholder but who is not an officer of his company.

Other brokerage firms whose substantial trading of BW shares is being looked into are: Eastern, Wealth, Abacus, and Goldstar Securities.

* * *

MORE stringent rules apply to officers of brokerage firms trading in shares that they handle for clients.

Initial investigation named these PCCI officers as having actively traded BW shares during the period under review: chairman Antonio Ozaeta, vice chairman Manuel Lopez, president Federico Galang, VP for operations Corazon Galang, asst. vice president Lorenzo Nolan, and managing director Francisco Liboro.

The investigators also listed relatives and affiliates of officials who had traded BW shares heavily: Evelina Galang, Eleonor Galang, Rebecca Galang, Regina Galang, Ramon Galang, Francisco Galang, Eduardo Galang, Lynette Nolan and Irene Salud.

Francisco Liborio is the husband of Elvira Lim, sister of Eduardo Lim Jr. who was named in records of the Securities and Exchange Commission as president of BW Resources and as an officer of Belson (but later found to have resigned).

The same SEC records identified Irene Salud as the common-law wife of Lim. We could not get independent confirmation of this as of press time.

* * *

RECORDS of the PSE on Belson trading on Oct. 11-14 showed three of its officers – president Federico D. Lim, executive vice president Emanuel G. Lim, and asst. treasurer Elvira L. Liboro – transacting BW shares.

The records also showed that several clients surnamed Lim actively traded BW shares: B/Martynne, Rhea C., Pong C., Carmen C., and Mariano. A certain Francis Liborio (whose relation to Elvira and Francisco, PCCI managing director, is being looked into) bought shares once.

Belson was also shown in PSE records as having handled some BW transactions for PCCI and Wealth Securities, a practice that market sources said is sometimes resorted to by brokers to “spread” the business.

There was no transaction entry on Eduardo Lim Jr., former Belson officer, although PSE records showed his wife Irene Salud heavily trading BW shares.

* * *

THE Land Registration Authority, meanwhile, is celebrating its anniversary beset with charges of a rigged bidding for its land title computerization program.

When several bidders competed for the project that covers more than 13 years of work in 164 land registers, they agreed to abide by the decision of the LRA prequalification, bids and awards committee.

But when the committee awarded the project to Megadata Consortium, all hell broke loose, with some of the losers accusing the committee of irregularities. Even extraneous matters such as Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas’ allegedly having a relative in Megadata were brought up.

LRA Administrator Alfredo Enriquez swears that the bidding was fair, honest and transparent. He and officers of the National Computer Center point out that Megadata won the technical qualification stage based on criteria that the bidders knew and agreed to from the very beginning.

* * *

OUR survey on President Estrada’s popularity rating is over. In fact, we have published the results. But we still keep receiving bundles of crudely organized responses via email and postal mail.

This must be a big, costly operation. They also maintain phone brigades tasked to influence the results of phoned-in surveys of radio and television stations. Haven’t the radio and TV stations noticed this organized campaign to mess up their surveys?

The government would save a lot of money by disbanding these ineffective writing and mailing brigades. Their crude materials just clutter the mail and pigeonholes of newspaper offices.

* * *

IMPORTANT announcement: POSTSCRIPT readers using email who want to engage us or to have their comments printed must use their ORIGINAL email address provided by their Internet Service Providers (ISP). This is to facilitate checking of the return mail route.

Messages from anonymous readers using search engines and free email facilities such as yahoohotmail and similar secondary addresses will be read but will not be used until verified. Verification takes time, if ever, when the writer does not use his proper ISP address.

We’ve been getting junk email lately from secondary addresses such as those from yahoo and hotmail.

* * *

WE’VE also said that we no longer open attachments to email, mainly for fear of viruses piggybacking on them. We want messages or statements sent instead as plain text with the message proper.

A corporate information officer told us that he resorted to attachments because that was the only means e knew to send prepared statements/messages. He did not know how to convert the attachment into plain text.

We sent him this instruction which might be useful to others with the same problem:

First, open the document you had wanted to attach. Then, select/highlight the document or the parts you want to send. Press Edit/Copy. Then go to your email software (e.g. Netscape, Eudora or Explorer), and click New Message. On the space for the new message, edit/paste what you copied earlier. The text will then appear, and you can proceed from there to edit or process your message. When done with editing, send it.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 1, 2000)

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