POSTSCRIPT / August 5, 2007 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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GMA-Marcos deal? Malamang meron na!

SETTLEMENT: Colleague Boo Chanco asked last Friday in his “Demand and Supply” column if there was a done deal na between President Gloria Arroyo and the Marcoses in light of their confident claims of ownership over assets of some big businessmen.

My answer is: “Malamang mayroon na.” (Most likely, there is.)

My explanation is short and simple: Ate Glo (pronounced “glue” to rhyme with Boo) said in a private lunch more than a year ago that she wanted peace all around anchored on a settlement with major political adversaries.

Among those she mentioned were Danding Cojuangco and the Marcoses.

I think she also mentioned Erap Estrada. But I am now a bit confused about Erap, because he is acting as if there is no deal, yet.

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MINING CLAIMS: Speculation over a secret omnibus deal is fanned by the Marcoses’ aggressive “mining” claims lately. Suddenly they seem to own/control most mega-businesses in town.

One recalls the martial rule-vintage mining tale of a lady on a chopper pointing to various properties below and saying “That’s mine, that’s mine, that’s mine.…”

The latest target of this Marcos mining spree is taipan Lucio Tan, who is into banking, airlines, tobacco, liquor, among other lines.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos – who merited special mention in the President’s State of the Nation Address – was all dressed up days ago to testify that his late father owned 60 percent of Tan’s businesses.

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BUMBLING PCGG: Bongbong’s testimony is fraught with legal risks. For one, the Marcoses have been saying in their unexplained wealth cases that they do not own those properties alleged to have been in the care of their cronies.

Now they are claiming they own those assets? The scenario may have changed with an omnibus settlement in place.

It is so easy for the Arroyo administration, through a bumbling Presidential Commission on Good Government, to lose selected Marcos cases and, para hindi halata, win a few small ones.

For PCGG to lose cases is easy. The truckload of documents that the commission used to brag about appears to have shrunk into a sheaf of papers that fit into a milk box.

* * *

NO PAYMENT: Throwing a case is as facile as a Salonga-type traveler losing to a snatcher kuno a briefcase full of vital documents. Ha, ha, ha….

You should see how some cocky kin of the Marcoses wink as they talk of PCGG documents vanishing without the aid of smoke and mirrors.

But how will the Marcoses handle the possible argument of some cronies that, okay, the dictator owned/grabbed a controlling chunk of their business but did not actually pay for it?

Remember the ailing Lopez patriarch having been forced to sign away the family crown jewel that was the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) in a vain bid to buy the freedom of his son Geny Lopez who had been locked up as hostage?

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NORTHWEST BLUES: My Postscript on how Northwest Airlines cancelled my confirmed flight in Detroit without informing me or taking the initiative of getting me alternative flights elicited email from passengers kicked around by the airline.

Reader Ruben Sumo shared his experience with Northwest:

“Last June 26, 2007, my wife and I were returning to Manila after visiting our daughter in Richmond, Virginia. We were taking the Richmond/Detroit/ Narita/Manila route. At Richmond airport we were told the flight to Detroit had been cancelled.

“We asked why we were not informed, but the lady at the counter had a rather vague answer. After some inquiries, she gave us a Delta Air flight to New York and then via Cathay to Vancouver on to Hong Kong and finally Manila.

“It became a four-leg flight instead of three and it was such a nerve-wracking experience. At JFK airport the plane took about 30 minutes to reach the gate. After leaving the plane we had to run looking for Terminal 7.

“We finally landed in Manila at noon when we were supposed to arrive 10:30 p.m. the night before — and our baggage was not complete.”

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NO CONNECT: From Rosalind M. Landicho of Bacoor, Cavite:

“My roundtrip e-ticket purchased in April 2007 confirmed my flight from Cleveland to Minneapolis to Manila. My Northwest flight from CLE should have left July 20 at 12:40 p.m.

“I was already at Gate 6 reading a book when I decided to inquire at the counter about my gate number at Minneapolis where I was to take my international flight.

“After a few minutes, the counter lady goes, ‘I have to check on something else, ma’am. I don’t think you’d make it to your connecting flight.’

She told me that the NW plane I was to board at 12:40 p.m. had not arrived from Minneapolis due to bad weather. How could that be? There was absolutely no storm.

“She said my 12:40 p.m. flight had been moved to 3:40 p.m. As there was no way for me to make the connecting flight, she offered a rerouting. She finally got me on a Continental non-stop to Los Angeles, leaving at 5:40 p.m. From LA, I would hop on Philippine Airlines that would stop on Guam, then fly on to Manila.

“Bad weather was Northwest’s lame excuse. I suspected as much as you did: pilots calling in sick due to problems with management. Northwest should be more upfront. You don’t have enough flights. Then tell us so, and in plenty of time.”

(PS: A reader identifying herself as Myrtle summarized the mess with a text message: “NORTHWEST DESERVES 2B PUNISHED! WHY NOT SUE THEM?” Oo nga, ano?)

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 5, 2007)

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