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New directors wrest control of PHC office

After several hours of confrontation, newly elected directors of the Philippine Communications Satellite Inc., (Philcomsat) took over the Philcomsat Holdings Corp. (PHC) office at the second floor of the Pacific Star building in Makati City. Philcomsat is the parent company of PHC. Erlinda Ilusorio-Bildner, vice chairman of Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corp., which in turn is Philcomsat's parent firm, claimed that her group successfully wrested control over the PHC office being occupied by a rival group led by Enrique Locsin and Concepcion Poblador. Bildner said POTC owns Philcomsat, which has 81 percent stake in PHC. POTC is 35 percent owned by the government. According to Bildner and Daniel Gutierrez, POTC chairman, new directors of PHC have been elected last December 11, automatically replacing Locsin and Poblador. But the Locsin-Poblador bloc refused to acknowledge the new set of directors, and even accused them of being cronies of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. Katrina Ponce Enrile, daughter of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was elected as chairman of PHC during the December 11 meeting. Gutierrez was elected vice chairman and businessman Ramon Jacinto, president. The new board is composed of: Bildner, former National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner Abraham Abesamis, Olivero Laperal, Pablo Lobregat, Jose Ma. Ozamiz, Honorio Poblador III, Rodolfo Serrano, Prudencio Somera, Victoria delos Reyes, John Benedict Sioson, Rafael Poblador and Lorna Kapunan. The Bildner camp has accused the Locsin-Poblador bloc of squandering PHC assets amounting to P1.4 billion in 2003. Of the supposedly squandered assets, P900 million was in cash and P500 million in property. The new elected officials also claimed that PHC has not submitted any financial report since April 2007, and this resulted in the suspension of the trading of its shares in the Philippine Stock Exchange. The new board was also able to secure a freeze order from the Makati regional trial court to prevent the Locsin-Poblador group from touching further the accounts of PHC in the Bank of Philippine Islands. However, Pitero Reig, legal counsel of the Locsin-Poblador group called the new board as a group of Marcos cronies and even challenged them to surrender the P150 million in sequestered dividends to the Sandiganbayan. “Cronies should not be in charge of sequestered companies and sequestered funds in the first place especially so if they are facing ill-gotten wealth cases. But they have found a way to remain in power and hold on the sequestered funds," Reig said in a statement issued to media. Reig pointed that the sequestered dividends are from Polygon Investors and Managers, Inc., a shareholder of POTC, which is the mother company of Philcomsat. Polygon is also sequestered and owned by the Africa family. Reig also named Potenciano Ilusorio, Jose Africa, and Juan Ponce Enrile, as among the Marcos cronies that took control of POTC and Philcomsat in 2000. Reig also challenged the "crony group" to subject POTC and Philcomsat to financial audit. - GMANews.TV
Tags: philcomsat