Biz BuzzBy the staff |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Many trading participants have fond memories of Leonardo Quinitio, head of the capital market development division of the Philippine Stock Exchange, as a “cheerleader” for the local bourse and some were surprised at his unceremonial dismissal.
Stockbrokerage Campos Lanuza & Co., for instance, said on its Twitter account that this was “raising eyebrows because he’s the roadshow face of the PSE outside Metro Manila,” adding Quinitio had served the PSE longer than some of those in management.
The PSE’s initial disclosure on Monday only stated that Quinitio’s employment was terminated with immediate effect, thus raising more questions than answers. Yesterday, the PSE filed another disclosure saying that the termination “arose from findings of breach of company policies and protocols.” A longer statement issued by the PSE later in the day alleged Quinitio’s “falsification of documents, fraudulent expense claims and undocumented arrangements.
“The PSE has rules in place to deal with these situations and enforces them to immediately correct breaches and to ensure that the integrity of its processes are not compromised,” the PSE said.
According to one PSE source, Quinitio—who joined the PSE in 2006 and was appointed in charge of the capital markets development division in 2010—was asked to go on forced leave while the PSE conducted its probe that led to the eventual conclusion of “breach of company policies and protocols.” From the PSE’s point of view, this was part of internal housekeeping and that its decision to immediately cut off Quinitio was made after “a thorough investigation and affording due process.”
On the other hand, some quarters close to Quinito claimed that he might have been but a victim of corporate politics and that he was given little opportunity to clear himself. Doris C. Dumlao
No jail term?
It was supposed to be a landmark ruling for being the first criminal conviction under the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), but not everyone was jubilant. Judge Selma Palacios Alaras of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City convicted Francisco Borromeo, former president of the defunct brokerage house Asian Capital Equities Inc. on seven counts of securities violations, but some wondered why there was no jail term. Instead, Borromeo entered into a plea bargain and paid P2.1 million in penalties.
As some people think that P2.1 million might be too cheap a price to pay for (and too measly to discourage) white-collar crimes (especially if the amount involved is much higher), we asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa why this was so, and this was her explanation: “The SRC provides penalties upon conviction of fine between P50,000 and P5 million OR imprisonment of seven to 21 years or both AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COURT (emphasis hers).”
As such, Herbosa said the imposition of the monetary fine only was in accordance with SRC.
Borromeo was convicted for “unlawful and felonious acts committed in order to defraud his clients, including, among others, the sale of his client’s shares without his client’s consent, the use of fictitious and dummy accounts in buying transactions and his failure to deliver the payment proceeds from the sale of his client’s shares.” His stock brokerage, Asian Capital, was shut down in 2003 and its assets, including its trading right, were liquidated in 2008 to settle liabilities to clients.
In the meantime, after this episode, Borromeo has reportedly reinvented himself into a non-finance related profession. Doris C. Dumlao
CP’s charm offensive
After being savaged in the media for what its critics claimed were unfair tax breaks given to it by the government, Thai agribusiness giant Charoen Pokphand (CP) is now on a charm offensive.
It’s officials announced this week that CP’s local unit, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), will invest a total of $120 million in the Philippine agribusiness sector “over the next three years” (that’s for the rest of President Aquino’s term).
In fact, a statement issued by the company quoted CPF official Kasem Manoi saying that the investment would be made in agro-industrial businesses such as livestock growing and aquaculture, especially for its shrimp and fish businesses.
The investments are also intended to expand the company’s livestock and poultry business in Pampanga, including its broiler, layer and swine operations. It will also boost its shrimp hatcheries and fish culture operations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Established locally in 2007 starting with a shrimp hatchery, CPF has operations spanning the entire country (albeit quietly). Its two core business lines are the livestock business, which comprises broiler, layer and swine and the aquaculture business focusing on shrimp and fish.
Will the charm offensive—including the promise of bringing more investments into the country—work, against its array of critics? Time will tell. Daxim L. Lucas
Tambunting tussle redux
Some Antipolo City “homeowners” pushed through with their picket last Monday in front of the Planters Development Bank headquarters in Makati City.
The crux of the issue was the alleged refusal of bank chair Jesus Tambunting to turn over the titles to a 43-hectare property in Antipolo (owned jointly by him and six other siblings) that would formalize a deal that called for the government to buy the land and turn it over to the former “informal settlers.”
We were told that Tambunting, alarmed at the situation, spoke with one of the leaders of the homeowners’ group, asking that they meet on Wednesday, or two days after that, to discuss the issue. (The homeowners were also requested to disperse, by the way.)
At the succeeding meeting, a representative of Tambunting told the homeowners that the land titles would finally be turned over to them on either Thursday (the following day) or Friday. Imagine their joy and relief.
As a gesture of good faith, the group also decided to cancel a second picket they had scheduled for Friday at the Planters Bank headquarters on Gil Puyat Ave. in Makati City (for which they had already obtained permits).
Then Thursday came, and Friday came … but no land titles followed, we hear. As of Saturday, nothing has been turned over, leaving the leaders of the homeowners’ group wondering if a fast one was pulled on them.
Will there be a happy ending to this tale of woes (for all stakeholders involved, including the Tambunting siblings split right down the middle)? Only time will tell, it seems. Daxim L. Lucas
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