AT LEAST Panfilo Lacson tells it like it is — or how it could be. Elect him as president and we could probably expect someone like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, or Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra at the helm. All three are known for being, as the TV ad says, “buo ang loob, walang takot (determined, without fear),” traits that supposedly enabled them to steer their countries into becoming economic powerhouses. According to the ad, Lacson has the same traits as well, and its logic argues that these would enable him to do wonders for the Philippine economy, too.
GEORGE TRIVIÑO, Ital-Thai’s Philippine representative, was livid when he found out that the company had begun negotiating the purchase of three reclaimed islands in Manila Bay without his knowledge.
SINCE THE nineteenth century, discreet brokers, many of them ethnic Chinese, have played a key but often invisible role in Philippine politics. Filipino officials have relied on such middlemen to make under-the-table arrangements away from the glare of public scrutiny.
ON FRIDAY, April 28, 1995, George Triviño, a convicted gold smuggler with a long history of wheeling-dealing, received 31 checks totaling P300 million from the Amari Coastal Bay Resources Corp., a Thai-Filipino company that had just entered into a P1.8-billion contract with the government to buy reclaimed property off the Manila-Cavite coastal road.