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More to the picture

"Why continue to associate with this individual accused of many nefarious acts?"

 

The recent scandal involving the alleged sexual harassment of Miss Earth contestants introduced us to a new object of public ire: Mr. Amado Cruz, who was portrayed as a lewd, leering middle-aged businessman as he was photographed getting chummy with the beauty queens. The news has gone viral.

However, it seems sexual harassment may only be just another item on the list of alleged illegal acts Cruz might have been involved in. A businessman, Cruz is the president and CEO of two companies—Offshore Construction and Development Corporation (OCDC) and New Qualitrans, Inc. a transport company. And both have been caught entangled in Cruz’s alleged malpractices.

OCDC figured in a case of graft when it entered into an anomalous lease of two government properties in 1998 with the Intramuros Administration. Some say this was consummated without the benefit of a public bidding. Worse, OCDC is said to have been allowed to proceed with the construction without securing any building permit. The IA administrator that time was Dominador Ferrer, Jr. who was convicted for graft last June. Interestingly, one of his letters to Cruz was even cited as evidence in the case.

With regard to New Qualitrans, Inc., the scandal was recent. Just last October, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board reportedly considered issuing a suspension order against all of the company’s taxi units following a complaint of alleged molestation of a female passenger of one of its drivers. According to the complaint, the taxi driver even brought his female passenger to a motel.

Investigation by police further revealed that a number of documents of New Qualitrans’ taxi units might have been falsified, with the company even listing an office address which it had already vacated five years prior, which makes everybody ask, including the LTFRB, if Cruz could have sold his taxi units with fake documents.

Sources privy to Cruz’s work and business claim it is a common rumor that the embattled businessman has a predilection for young, beautiful women. If the rumor is true, then the stories of sexual harassment would sound in-character of him. A group of Miss Earth contestants claimed that Cruz brought them to a private room in his yacht, asked them to dance for him and reportedly even took “sultry” pictures of them.

He also reportedly asked for the hotel room numbers of certain contestants, allegedly made sexual advances and was said to have insinuated he could get the girls further in the competition in exchange for sexual favors.

While a pattern seems to be emerging on Cruz’s background, it is quite puzzling why Carousel Productions, Inc. continues to avail itself of Cruz’s services and sponsorships for the Miss Earth Beauty Pageants which it produces.

And here is where the plot thickens. If sources are to be believed, there could be more to the picture than meets the eye.

Sources alleged Cruz pimps girls to high-ranking public officials in exchange for favors, including government projects. Miss Earth contestants are no exception.

And again, if this allegation is true, why does Carousel Productions continue to tolerate Cruz’s supposed sexual predatory acts?

Take note that Carousel is headed by Ramon Monzon, president, CEO and director of the Philippine Stock Exchange. Any controversy involving him could ricochet on PSE itself and gravely affect its operations.

For the record, the primary objective of PSE is to provide and maintain a convenient and suitable market for the exchange, purchase and sale of all types of securities and other instruments.

Hence, even the slightest rumor of links to a businessman reportedly involved in pimping in exchange for business favors, would taint PSE’s fragile operations.

And even if the allegations of pimping turns out to just like that, rumors, Monzon’s association with Cruz and patronage of his sponsorship, after contestants of Miss Earth started coming out accusing the latter of sexual harassment, would still be grossly inappropriate.

Someone who tolerates an alleged sexual predator would end up  suspected of being an enabler of predatory acts himself. Monzon can no longer afford to be silent on this issue.

Topics: Charlie V. Manalo , Miss Earth , Mr. Amado Cruz , Offshore Construction and Development Corporation (OCDC) , New Qualitrans Inc.
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