For a backgrounder, Garcia who controls a little more than 30% of the company through government shares in Meralco, is wanting to outseat the ruling Lopez family. This officially started when President GMA publicly asked for the support of big businesses in taking out the present leadership whom a lot of people accuse of cheating the public and charging exorbitant electric rates. On a personal level, Garcia has been feuding withthe present leadership since he took note of several matters which he perceive as inefficiencies and bad corporate governance. To begin with, Garcia raises hell over the fact that items to be taken up in monthly board meetings are only given to him on the Saturday prior to the Monday meet. Of course, such deprives him (and other board members) of sufficient time to study all matters and act accordingly. Another issue which caught his ire is the management’s refusal to give him copies of supply contracts entered into by Meralco.
On the public front, Meralco has been accused of passing its electrical costs on to its customers, something which is outrageous because all businesses do that. If a company will not make its customers pay for its costs, how will it profit? The real questions should be focused on sweetheart deals between the Lopez businesses and Meralco and if it is profiting outrageously.
On the profit side, Meralco is a monopoly and not subjected to the rigors of competition. Therefore, the government should see to it that it doesn’t overcharge the public. In regard to the sweetheart deals, The government should see to it that Meralco is not spending too much on shiploads of coal and fuel for its power plants and that it isn’t buying electricity at outrageous terms from the Lopez companies or any supplier for that matter. If it does, that’s where the Lopezes are making themselves fatter- by milking Meralco. The government should also make sure that Meralco is not charging the electrical consumption of its sister companies like ABS-CBN to the general public. The problem is, Meralco refuses to be transparent and that’s where its enemies are getting the ammunition in its war against the Lopezes.
If the government will succeed in taking out Meralco, is it automatic that the public will benefit in the long run? Maybe not. Its track record in running corporations is spotty at best. And besides, government ownership of Meralco is just an added opportunity for corrupt officials. With the Lopez companies out of the picture, the possibility that supply contracts will now be awarded as political favors is not at all remote.
Replacing the Lopezes may actually prove to be worse for the publc.
One thing though. I would like to know if the Meralco employees that are now in the stockholders’ meeting are on leave or drawing salaries (plus incentives) on this day. I believe that the linemen have a lot of areas to take care of today and it is not their business to be at the Meralco compound and take part in boardroom politics.