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BIZ BUZZ: Hospital arrest

/ 04:05 AM October 25, 2021

One popular maneuver of wealthy and influential people in the Philippines who find themselves in a legal crisis is to have themselves confined in upscale hospitals due to sudden health issues to avoid arrest, detention or being brought to a Senate hearing.

This case we’re hearing about, however, puts a twist on this modus operandi with a hospital allegedly being used by the wealthy and powerful to detain a victim against her will.

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Biz Buzz learned that the wife of a prominent Forbes Park resident has been confined at an upscale hospital in Pasig City, allegedly for psychological issues, at the behest of her wealthy husband.

This was despite the wife—let’s call her Mrs. Hospital Detainee—having no mental problems, according to a petition for habeas corpus filed by her mother and sister before the Pasig regional trial court in a bid to have the hospital, its doctors and the husband produce her in person.

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In fact, Mrs. Hospital Detainee, a golfer known in local circles, has been confined since May. According to her camp, her unfortunate journey toward what they call “medically sanctioned illegal detention” began when their marriage hit, shall we say, a rough patch.

The petition says she’s been incommunicado in the hospital for over five months now with no contact with the outside world, with the hospital staff having confiscated her mobile phone, laptop and other personal belongings.

And even while she was being taken away by the ambulance, she repeatedly emphasized that this was being done against her will (she was allegedly reassured that her confinement would only last two weeks).Mrs. Hospital Detainee’s camp is training their guns on the hospital’s psychiatrists whom they believe are in league with the husband to keep the victim under lock and key.

Mrs. Hospital Detainee’s sister has repeatedly requested the husband to release his wife from confinement and to place the wife under her care, to no avail. Biz Buzz asked the hospital president for his comment on the complaint, but he declined, saying that the issue was now up to the courts to decide.

So once more, the burden of freeing or detaining a person further rests with the legal system, and the poor wife’s friends are eager to see how this all plays out in the courts.

Meanwhile, with the holiday season fast approaching, some of the couple’s socialite friends are wondering in hushed tones whether they’ll still receive the usual pastry gift from the family and, if so, how the gift cards will be signed. Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

NextGen biz leaders

New generation business leaders Mara Coson and Mariana Zobel top-billed the opening panel of the two-day Global Reporting Initiative-SM’s Asean sustainability summit last week, thus becoming the faces of environmental, social and governance (ESG) advocacy of their generation.

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Coson, daughter of Tessie Sy-Coson, is a third-generation Sy, while Mariana, daughter of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, comes from the eighth generation of the clan that controls the Ayala conglomerate.

ESG, of course, is a big word but both know by heart how to articulate the involvement of their respective conglomerates.

Asked by the moderator, broadcaster Karen Davila, on which specific initiative was closest to their hearts, Coson cited gender equality.

“It’s about empowering women. That’s very close to me and I’m actually quite glad that the company has really taken steps toward that. But for me, I think that we can do more [in] really pushing women leaders, and not just people in the family, but everyone in the organization.”

Davila also asked if Coson would be willing to step into her mother’s shoes, she readily said yes on the sustainability and retail side. To date, Coson has taken on the role of sustainability advisor for SM Investments and vice president for marketing and digital strategy at SM Retail.

“That’s something you’re up for the sleepless nights,” Davila said. “Yes, they started already,” Coson replied in jest.

For her part, Mariana, who now holds the position of vice president at Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), talked about harnessing technology for financial inclusion.

Davila asked Mariana if she had already decided to be in the banking business for the long haul. “Unfortunately, by virtue of our family-based association, we do have to retain some awareness over the different units,” said Mariana, who was previously with Ayala Land before moving to BPI.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ

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