When questioned about his conflict of interest about the Reed Bank, Albert del Rosario said:
I think that’s unfair. I was working for the country. If Manny benefited from that, we’ll benefit from that. It’s not something that will be out of the ordinary.
Albert del Rosario is evading the issue and is not being truthful to the Filipino people. The question isn’t unfair; it’s valid, urgent, and must be throughly investigated. And Dick Cheney was also working for his country when he advocated for the Iraq War. Mainstream media aren’t doing their job. They are not asking the right questions and they aren’t gathering facts.
Albert del Rosario was director of Philex Mining Corporation when its partner Forum Energy Plc was granted by the Philippine government the right to explore oil and gas in Reed Bank in February 2010.
In February 2011, President Aquino appointed del Rosario as acting Foreign Affairs Secretary. According to his profile in Bloomberg, he stopped being one of the directors of Philex on March 25, 2011. He also stepped down from being the non-executive director of another Manny Pangilinan-led company, the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd. on the same day, a post he held since June 2, 2003. You’ll see the relevance of First Pacific later on.
In January 2013, the Inquirer reported that the Department of Energy “deferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs the decision to grant permits concerning the exploration and drilling activities at the highly contested Recto Bank because the area was part of the disputed waters being claimed by China.” This effectively gave the authority to grant concessions on Reed Bank to del Rosario! It was also in January 2013 that the Philippines filed the arbitration case against China.
Manny Pangilinan re-appointed del Rosario as an independent non-executive director of First Pacific Company just this July 2016, weeks before the release of the Arbitration Decision. He is going to be paid with 893,070 shares, about 0.02% of the company.
Now, the number 1 stockholder of Philex Mining is Asia Link B.V., which is registered in the Netherlands. At #5 is Kirtman Limited, registered in the UK, and at #6 is Maxella Limited, which is UK-registered as well.
They are all connected with First Pacific Company. Asia Link B.V. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Limited.
Conflict of interest means a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions will be influenced by interests that’s not related to your job as foreign Affairs Secretary.
So, given these FACTS, Mr. Albert del Rosario:
Please convince us that your connection with Philex Mining and First Pacific Company didn’t influence your actions to push our country to having a belligerent relationship with China.
Please convince us that you didn’t know that Philex Mining and First Pacific Company would enormously profit from the decisions you made as Foreign Affairs Secretary.
Please convince us that this enormous profit of 5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas that would go to Philex Mining and First Pacific Company didn’t, in any way, encourage your decision.
Please convince us that you yourself will not financially benefit in anyway from the decision you made as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, given that the company that you’ve previously worked for and are now working with will profit from the operations of Philex in the Reed Bank.
What you did isn’t far from what Dick Cheney did. Dick Cheney served as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He became Bush Jr’s Vice President. Cheney was one of the most vocal advocates of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Halliburton made a lot of money because of that invasion.
In 2004, the Guardian made a profile of Cheney:
- “he helped to steer through a huge contract for the reconstruction of Iraq’s oil industry on behalf of his old firm, Halliburton”
- “A report to the House of Representatives committee on government reform last week noted that $107bn in contracts had been awarded without open competition. Nearly three-quarters of those exclusive arrangements – worth about $88bn – involved work in Iraq, the report said. Halliburton has won a sizeable share of them.”
Same modus operandi: Exploit the sense of nationalism of your own citizens against another country in order to hide your vested interests and your own personal future gains by using the authority and dignity attached to your position. You and your people have exploited the Filipino people; you used Filipino taxpayers’ money and used our people as attack dogs against China in the service of the profit that awaits you. And because of your vested interests, our own people will suffer the consequent diplomatic fallout your greed has wrought. But you have an excuse; let me just update what you’ve said about people calling you out for conflict of interest over the Reed Bank in light of the facts presented here:
If Manny Pangilinan and I benefited from that, we’ll benefit from that. It’s not something that will be out of the ordinary.
A hero is not someone who dragged our country into a belligerent relationship with another country while his former company and future workplace will profit from that relationship. That’s not a patriot but a profiteer. The Philippine-China drama is a deliberate failure of diplomacy in the service of the grand triumph of corporate interests. #gReedBank #ProfiteerNOTPatriot