Shenanigans at the SEC

Among the most frequent complaint of foreign and domestic investors, aside from graft and corruption, is lack of ease in doing business here. The Philippines is at the bottom of the totem pole.

They point out incompetence and other shenanigans at the Securities and Exchange Commission. These have resulted in businessmen’s failure to incorporate at the soonest possible time. The traders have been frustrated—and this is only the first step!

Until last year, it only took two to three days to incorporate a company. Now it takes as long as two months.

What is happening? SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa knows only too well that the process affects economic and business activity. Unless one is incorporated, one cannot do business.

The commission says it is computerization that is the culprit.

Apparently, early this year, the SEC switched from a manual system to an electronic system. In order to incorporate, one has to upload the corporate articles of incorporation to the SEC website. Unfortunately, there is a glitch in the software. Amazingly, the SEC does not have enough bandwidth to accommodate all the applications.

This has resulted in an inordinate delay in the incorporation process. So why not go back to the manual process, or at least run the two systems parallel to each other? It cannot do this, the SEC says, because it has abandoned the manual process.

This is a perfect example of incompetence in a vital government agency. This must not be tolerated.

* * *

The first and most recent poll survey by Pulse Asia based its findings and rankings on two things: Name recall and awareness. As a result, reelectionists topped the survey.

These are Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara and Senate President Koko Pimentel. Another reelectionist, JV Ejercito, did not make the Magic 12 but his half-brother, Jinggoy Estrada, did.

Observers say that unless former President Joseph Estrada decides who between his sons should run, their votes might cancel out each other’s. They say too that Jinggoy has the edge.

A possible winner, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, ranked ninth to 15th. Another is Francis Tolentino, even though he is not yet in the Magic 12. He ranked 13th.

Actually, it is still too early to predict who will win. I think though it is safe to say that the re-electionists have the advantage.

As for the wannabes identified with President Duterte’s PDP-Laban, their chances are slim unless the President goes out of his way to campaign for them. That will take some doing, because people want senators who can think independently. We don’t want minions.

The Liberal Party should come up with a more formidable lineup aside from Bam Aquino. Voters should have more to choose from.

Among the four wannabes in the Pulse Asia Magic 12 are Sara Duterte, Erwin Tulfo, Lito Lapid and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa. Personally, I think only Sara has any chance at all.

Another one who might win in the Senate race is former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. If she wins, she may even be Senate President.

* * *

When President Duterte announced his willingness to pursue peace negotiations with the communist rebels, I had doubts it would succeed. I know how insincere the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is.

I have always believed peace talks should be held here. After all, this is an internal problem.

Santa Banana, for the past four rounds of peace talks, I kept saying the President should have learned his lesson. While peace talks were ongoing, the New People’s Army continued to commit atrocities.

Still, I believe we should give peace a chance.

I like the conditions set by President Duterte—Joma Sison should come home from exile in The Netherlands, the NPAs should surrender their firearms. And then there would be no attempt at a coalition government.

The return of Sison to the Philippines, with an assurance of safety, is possible. I doubt though whether the NPAs would surrender their firearms.

* * *

Observers say that once Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is ousted, President Duterte will not make Justice Antonio Carpio chief justice. This is because of Carpio’s frequent tirades against our silence on what China is doing in disputed territory.

The speculation is that either Justice Presbiterio Velasco or Teresita Leonardo de Castro will be made chief justice.

In an interview, the acting chief justice said that the Philippines has to protest Beijing’s landing of military aircraft on Panganiban Reef. Otherwise, because of our silence, we will lose our rights to our territory. If we don’t protest, we acquiesce.

The question is, will all the grants, aid and investment from China compensate for everything that it is doing?

I am afraid that our Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has already become a spokesman for China.

Topics: Securities and Exchange Commission , Alan Peter Cayetano , Department of Foreign Affairs , Maria Lourdes Sereno , National Democratic Front of the Philippines , Teresita Herbosa , Securities and Exchange Commission
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