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BIZ BUZZ: C.Y.A.

/ 04:04 AM January 24, 2022

According to Investopedia, C.Y.A. or “covering your *ss” is the time-honored practice of organizations and their personnel of sharing or diverting blame, sometimes by laying down disclaimers should something go wrong.

Oftentimes the act is discreet, but sometimes it finds itself onto official documents, like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)’ formal approval a few days ago of the multibillion peso merger of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).

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The BSP’s letter to the Landbank president read thus: “LBP and UCPB shall execute and submit to BSP a document stating that they will keep BSP free and harmless from any liabilities arising from, or in connection with, the approval of subject transaction, with the adoption of a disclaimer, as follows:

“LBP and UCPB agree to hold free and harmless BSP, and/or any of its officers, employees, or representatives, to the fullest extent permitted by law, from and against any claim and liability arising from or relating to the BSP’s approval of the application for merger, including but not limited to, any claim (i) not identified by UCPB; (ii) not assumed by LBP; (iii) not appearing in the documents and financial statements submitted to BSP; or (iv) made or may arise after the grant of regulatory approval for the transactions.

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LBP and UCPB shall indemnify the BSP or any of its officers, employees or representatives, to the fullest extent permitted by law, against any and all claims, demands, damages and expenses of any nature whatsoever arising from, or in connection with the merger.”

Never mind that the amended central bank charter enacted by President Duterte in 2019 already gave bank regulators the next best thing to full legal immunity. It explicitly stated that the BSP will fully compensate and advance the legal expenses of officials who may be sued in the performance of their duties (which, with BSP’s virtually unlimited budget, is almost the same thing as immunity).

But this time around, BSP officials wanted both merging entities to explicitly guarantee that the banks will not sue them in case something goes wrong. In addition, in case the ordure does hit the ceiling fan, both banks are being made to commit to compensate the affected regulators for all their expenses.

Well, Biz Buzz knows how difficult it is to be a central bank employee, especially with the threat of legal action from unhappy financial institutions always hanging over one’s head. But the thorough and overly explicit C.Y.A. maneuver doesn’t inspire much confidence in the BSP, especially when the regulator has a duty to assess such mergers and rule whether they’re good for the public or not.

Otherwise, why exercise regulatory power at all if one can’t carry the equal burden of responsibility that it entails, right? Just asking.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Sorry, no ‘FG’

Who will be her presidential escort in case she gets elected “CEO” of the country? This was among the questions that moderator Mike Toledo asked Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday in a forum organized by the Financial Executives of the Philippines (Finex).

For sure, there won’t be any First Gentleman (FG), said Robredo, who was widowed in 2012.

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Robredo said she had not considered this yet, but if any official escort would be needed, the default pick would be any of her three daughters.

“Of course, this would have to be a family decision. All my daughters are all adults now and they have their our own careers and plans,” she said.

None of the children is involved with the Office of the Vice President (OVP)’s work except in crisis situations, she said. During this pandemic, she said, all of her daughters have been helping a lot.

The eldest, Aika, a Harvard scholar, helped set up the OVP’s online medical consultation program, Bayanihan E-Konsulta. The second daughter, Tricia, a doctor, has been volunteering in many COVID-19 initiatives. The youngest, Jillian—who is still studying at New York University as a scholar but now at home as classes are all online—is also a volunteer at the E-Konsulta platform.

“In ordinary situations, I would rather they do their thing,” Robredo said.

As such, Robredo said any one of these daughters could be her official escort if elected president, to which Toledo reported: “Kaya yung mga interesadong manligaw diyan, sorry na lang kayo” (Sorry to those interested in courting her).”

— Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Pernia’s call

Former Socioeconomic Planning chief Ernesto Pernia, a prominent economist, has made known to Twitterverse his sentiment on the upcoming presidential elections. Well, he hasn’t exactly endorsed anyone, but he has spoken out on who he thinks Filipinos should not vote for.

“The choices for election 2022 are crystal clear and self-evident. Son of the well-known rapacious dictator-killer, a flunkie in college, tax evader, big liar, etc.—no saving grace whatsoever. Anyone else is much better. Foremost (alphabetically): Lacson, Moreno, Robredo,” he said in a Jan. 22 tweet.

Back in early December, Pernia urged Filipinos to be wary of “charlatan/impostor” presidential candidates who may just lead the country “to perdition.”

“Let’s not be taken for a ride by the presidential rankings, largely the result of social media hype and army of trolls hired by candidate(s) with loads of stolen people’s money.”

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
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