’Tol Mike Defensor collects his toll

August 10, 2008









For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the $150 million nickel mining project of Nihao Mineral Resources and Geograce Philippines, both having Mike Defensor as chairman, with China’s Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group, did not pull any strings and everything was done above board.

We can go on pretending and not get anywhere, because the presence of Gloria in the signing of the deal, yet in China again, makes it smell familiarly rotten.

The sight of Gloria with Defensor and officials of the Chinese mining groups was not any different from a picture in the not so distant past where Gloria witnessed the signing of the contract between Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and ZTE Corp. vice president Yu Yong for the $329.5 million National Broadband Network project..

In the absence of any proof to insinuate the obvious, the mere presence of Gloria provided the project of the Defensor companies a huge leverage in signing the Chinese deal.

Defensor was also the Environment and Natural Resources Secretary from 2004 which granted him immense access to whatever government regulatory requirements that the firms’ projects needed to hurdle.

This can hardly be denied.

Taking into account the concept of decency, Defensor should have refused any official tasks from Gloria while maintaining his post as head of two private companies.

Defensor, however, was recently the head of the task force in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 project, and after Terminal 3 opened, he was recycled as head of the task force for the Northrail project, which, it should be pointed out, is also a project that has a Chinese firm involved.

Defensor was also formerly Gloria’s chief of staff and a senatorial candidate of Gloria in the 2004 elections where he fared miserably.

’Tol, as he played himself up in the 2004 polls in an attempt to reach out to the masa later resurfaced after the national elections where he was soundly beaten as an official of the two companies.

He was tipped as being groomed for a position within Gloria’s earshot, but it seems that he is not ready yet to part with the allure that the newly opened mining sector brings, thus the interim appointments.

China is among the world’s biggest consumer of nickel, which is used in the manufacture of stainless steel, magnets, coins and special alloys. It is desperately seeking suppliers of the metal from abroad resulting in its price shooting up to record highs lately.

Allowing Defensor the benefit of the doubt still does not remove the exertion of undue influence with Gloria’s presence in the signing of the project.

Admit it or not, the presence of Gloria seems to be a guarantee that the project will pull through no matter what.

The deal with ZTE was all in the bag had it not have been for the Senate inquiry that dug really deep into the anomalous deal. The result of the investigation indicated that the project was liberally spread with huge kickbacks, the trail of which leads right into the doorsteps of Gloria.

The signing of the Defensor’s mining deal right in front of Gloria was patently a show of political payback.

It was a shameless display of Gloria and her cabal’s abuse of public authority.

’Tol is definitely back to collect his toll. And more?

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