PhilWeb to restart operations

WAS President Duterte aware of the unannounced burial of the remains of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?

Of course, and the buck should stop with him.

Why would the Armed Forces of the Philippines give Marcos full military honors befitting a former President and a soldier if the President did not approve it? Didn’t the President say that it was all legal, and that he was just following the law after the Supreme Court ruled against the petition on the burial at LNMB?

The Marcos haters are livid about the Marcos burial and now would even have the Marcoses and even the military cited for contempt. My gulay, some senators led by Senate President Koko Pimentel and members of Congress would even like to lead an attempt to exhume the remains and desecrate them.

I have serious doubts, however, because 9-5-1 ruling of the gods of Mount Olympus at Padre Faura appears irreversible.

Now, these Marcos haters— fanatics, really—are scheduling much-stronger rallies as they claim. They can rally until kingdom come, to no avail. The controversial burial was done unannounced, which was for the greater good of all concerned. My gulay, can you imagine what could have happened if all those fanatics tried to stop the burial in its midst?

There was no law against the burial in the first place. It was executory. So what are they belly-aching about? Truth to tell, it’s the military in complicity with the Left that are leading it. It was Marcos who stopped the communists from doing their worst in 1972. And it was Marcos that broke the backbone of the communist insurgency with the imposition of Martial Law.

But it was BS Aquino’s late mother, former President Cory, who brought back the communists where they are now because, as far as I know, her late husband Ninoy was dealing both with the Central Intelligence Agency and the communist insurgents. He was a “double agent” out to protect Hacienda Luisita, if the truth must be told.

There are demands that the communists who are now in the Duterte administration and who have been vocal against the burial of the Marcos remains at the LNMB should resign. If they have any self-respect or “delicadeza,” they should. I said “if.” But it seems that they have prioritized their own self-interest with all the perks they are getting as members of the Cabinet.

These officials are Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, and Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod.

“Delicadeza” is something very personal. You either have it or you don’t.

I would also like to include Vice President Leni Robredo, who continues to cling to her Cabinet post like a leech. She is vocal about her opposition to Duterte’s decision to bury the Marcos remains at the LNMB. Does she realize that as a Cabinet official, she is the alter-ego of the President?

If she has any self-respect or “delicadeza” left, she should also quit her job. But she won’t do it. BS Aquino and the Yellows want her to continue to be vice president just in case Duterte does not make it to his sixth year.

Incidentally, I cannot believe Robredo would last as vice president, now with the Supreme Court ready as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to tackle the electoral protest of former Senator Bongbong Marcos. With the recounting of votes in at least five provinces, it does appear that the Liberal Party cheated for Robredo. In fact, they did it for both Mar Roxas and Robredo. But, they could not do it with Duterte. The margin between Duterte and Roxas was too big. So, they did it for Robredo, who is now having sleepless nights since she knows that soon enough she’ll be history.

* * *

Businessman Gregorio Araneta III expects to fully take over PhilWeb Corp. and have a license to operate from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. before the year ends.

The truth of the matter, according to unimpeachable resources, is that President Duterte has already given Pagcor orders to restart PhilWeb’s operation in online gambling and E-games operations by some 131 entities nationwide with their P1.8-billion investments.

Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo and the Pagcor board are already in talks about PhilWeb restarting its operation. Its license was not renewed when the President said Ongpin was “an oligarch that must be destroyed.”

Soon enough, the President changed his mind. Ongpin was not the oligarch he was supposedly referring to. He soon found out that during the BS Aquino administration, Ongpin was harassed—persecuted—by both Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and the Development Bank of the Philippines. He faced cases for behest loans and insider trading.

Actually, insiders told me that it was Ongpin’s real estate competitor at Entertainment City who had accused Ongpin and got it through the President’s ears. The President soon discovered that this was not true.

The President directed Domingo to have online gambling and E-Games operations reinstated on two conditions: First, they must be farthest from the churches and schools, second, that their customers and clients must be restricted to those who can afford it.

Araneta is now waiting for the approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He needs this before he can make a tender offer to minority stockholders. It would be foolish for buyers to sell at P2.60 per share when they can dispose of their shares anytime for P9 or higher, prevailing in the stock market.

Ongpin effectively lost some P22 billion; he just took the beating philosophically. He said it was part of the game.

When I talked to him, his only concern were the 6,000 employees—of both PhilWeb and e-Games operators—who stood to lose their jobs, as well as the operators’ P1.8-billion investments. He even offered Pagcor, for free, his 77,651 million shares in an attempt to restart PhilWeb. Santa Banana, in a final attempt to save jobs and investments, Ongpin even donated to Pagcor his PhilWeb shares to build rehabilitation centers for drug addicts nationwide.

His last recourse was to sell to Araneta, who is the second biggest stockholder of PhilWeb, at a huge loss, if only to save jobs and investments.

Through all these, Ongpin believes in the 10-point agenda of economic agenda of the Duterte administration. To prove this, his company, Alphaland, is pushing ahead with its projects.

Pagcor must have realized that PhilWeb’s remittances to it were considerable.

Bobby used to be my student at the Ateneo. You just cannot put this man down.

Topics: Emil Jurado , President Rodrigo Duterte , President Ferdinand Marcos , Libingan ng mga Bayani , Gregorio Araneta III , PhilWeb Corp. , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. , Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo
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