I have posted a few articles about my political views but I really don’t want to delve deeper, because for me, nothing will happen. I’ve been shying away from posting about politics for personal reasons and because I grew up surrounded by politicians. There are fights which already lost even before they started and there are fights, worth fighting for.

Corruption is something that has been plaguing our country since time immemorial. We are aware that the government has been struggling for decades now to eradicate red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy. But, it’s a disease that is hard to shake off, simply because some people want the easy way to richdom.

How can we entice future investors when we have bad track records? They know about red tape and they are well aware of the massive corruption. Oh, and let’s not forget the frequent meddling by the courts even at the expense of public interest. It’s like showbizness inside a court house! I’m sure you have at one time or another got to peek at the famous trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona who was dragged into various allegations of corruption and other indiscretions. It’s like trial by publicity and even if you’re not guilty, your dirty laundry has already been splashed all over the news, so you’re basically trashed and embarrassed.

Steel Corporation of the Philippines
Let’s probe a little on the case of the Steel Corporation of the Philippines. If you don’t know yet, it’s 100% Filipino–owned corporation engaged in the manufacture and production of cold-rolled coils (CRC) and high quality steel sheets. It owns the most modern and biggest integrated flat steel mill in the country today, built in 1998 and located in Balayan, Batangas. It’s churning out high-quality and locally produced steel products and providing employment for thousands of Filipinos. But, due to the Asian financial firestorm, the company faced huge financial woes which resulted in foreign exchange losses of some PhP1.3 billion.

The only recourse was to seek negotiations for debt restructuring plan with its creditors, among them, Banco De Oro Unibank, (“BDO”), formerly Equitable PCI Bank, Inc, which is owned by Shoemart’s Henry Sy. But, instead of helping the steel company to survive its financial problems and allow its rehabilitation, BDO suddenly filed with the Batangas City Regional Trial Court on 11 September 2006, a creditor-initiated petition to place SCP under corporate rehabilitation. Now, that was thought of as a bad and tricky scheme by the bank to be able to take full possession of the company at a bargain.

This is the reason why the local steel industry in the Philippines is now practically dead and much of the country’s steel supply are smuggled and unrated Chinese steel. Well, business is business, but if you are a true blood Filipino, you wouldn’t want to see a local company with full potential to go down just like that. You would have given them some leeway and if all back up plans fail, then that’s the time to buy it BUT with the hope of helping it rise again and continue to make it prosper.

The Philippines is well known to be rich in high grade iron ores and other minerals needed for the production of steel. If more and more company opens production of steel, unemployment will decrees somehow. People will have something better to do that commit crime. They would want to work and earn their living and feed their families and live in normalcy. The government won’t have much problem with squatters sprouting like mushrooms, crime rate will go down, families will be able to eat three times a day and have a proper roof on their heads. Best of all, our economy will boom and investors will come flocking in.

But, as it is, many local steel plants have shut down especially during the onslaught of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. SCP was struggling, yes, but slowly coping up though it seems not enough. It only needed some financial push to be able to survive the crisis. But to be placed under rehab proceedings and without any due process, was something that smelt like stinking fish. I’m actually wondering, did something happen under the table?

It’s supposed to be rehabilitated and not dissolved and quickly. It’s a huge corporation, a lot of investments went in there, owners and investors alike want it salvaged until it can finally bring out it’s wings and soar high. The whole Philippines and it’s people will be blessed and enjoy it’s fruits once it has harnessed it’s full potential. It won’t be just the owners and investors who will take advantage of the massive wealth it will bring them, but people will have something to look forward to in terms of employments and benefits. The country will be known for it’s being rich in steel production thus more investors will come and will put up many other companies which in turn will bring down unemployment.

If there’s truly a clear motive to rehabilitate SCP, as it was intended to be, what will all the cash flow reports that was submitted, then that should have been the verdict. But, it was obvious that something fishy happened, what’s with the rushed decision to liquidate instead of allowing first for its rehabilitation? And to handle a case that’s bigger than what you have handled before and without prior experience plus a bad record, this case should’ve been given to a more experienced Rehab Receiver!

While there are pending petitions before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, Judge Galvez seemed to be too over-eager to implement the recommendation of Singson-De Leon even if it means that this would pre-empt the ruling of both superior courts.

It simply ignored the doctrine of judicial courtesy which requires that lower courts must await the decision of higher courts on matters related to cases before it. Otherwise, the appeals may be rendered moot and academic, and useless, resulting in judicial anarchy. Moreso, why can’t the rehab court wait for the decisions of the higher courts as it has always done in the past instead of risking being cited in contempt?

In ordering the liquidation of SCP, the Galvez court may have committed contempt of court by preempting the pending decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Disregarding the superiority of the CA and the SC as arbiters of the SCP’s case is tantamount to abuse of discretion and does not sit well with the judiciary’s earnest struggle to regain the people’s trust and confidence which was somehow eroded by the painful Corona impeachment trial.

SCP is the last fully integrated steel plant still standing in the country and it must be saved from predatory takeover attempts by those casting a moist eye on its business for their own selfish interests. Because BDO failed to take over SCP after forcibly bringing it to corporate rehabilitation, fear are rife that it now wants to do it again by using the liquidation order as an excuse to use SCP funds to selectively buy back its debts held by the other creditors to complete the takeover.

This would not only allow an easier takeover but it would be a lot cheaper for BDO to possess SCP through liquidation.

Clearly, the rehab receiver and the judge handling SCP’s case had no interest to save the company at all and it looks like they are not doing this out of patriotism. Someone must be moving heaven and earth to make sure that SCP fails in its bid for rehabilitation. Like vultures, they are just waiting for SCP to fall before feasting on its carcass.

If you’ll ask me, this is such a preposterous battle against “evil”. Why in the world would you like to destroy something that could be “the hope of the Filipino people”? This might have been a part of the jigsaw puzzle, that once complete, will finally end the battle against unemployment and hunger. I am all for helping and making my beloved country a better place for my children. If ruining a might have been part of the solution, makes you richer and the rest poorer, then I would not like my children and my grandchildren to spend their lives here and see the fall of a once mighty Philippines.

* If you’d like to know more, read here

Disclaimer: These are my thoughts therefore please respect it. I will respect your opinions too, so why not voice it out below in the comment form. 🙂

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