‘Wag na tayong magbolahan: Duterte says Indonesia’s Salim group controls PLDT-Smart
President Rodrigo Duterte has openly declared what has been an open secret in local business circle for decades: PLDT-Smart is controlled by Indonesia’s Salim group.
In a speech in Davao, Duterte said: “I know that Salim is behind… Ah ito. Magbolahan pa tayo dito. O sige lang, si MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), okay lang.”
Duterte said he would have preferred that a Filipino take charge in the dismantling the PLDT-Smart and Globe duopoly but it was difficult to find one during his term.
That’s why he was asking a Chinese firm to come in and take majority Filipino partner to form a third telco player.
Former Arroyo Cabinet Secretary Rigoberto Tiglao has come out with a book exposing Indonesian billionaire Anthony Salim, as the real owner of the self-styled “MVP Group” which controlled PLDT-Smart, Meralco, North Luzon Expressway and interests in hospitals and railways.
Tiglao said that Salim’s Hong Kong based holding firm,
First Pacific Co., Ltd., has earned more from PLDT-Smart with $2.7 billlion from 2000 to 2014 or more than half of what he earned from his home country.
Tiglao claimed that Salim did not bring in money into the Philippines but used local borrowings (including government banks Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank) to build his PLDT-Smart empire while siphoning the bulk of his profits out of the country.
Duterte has already acted on several exposes made by Tiglao, including the Mile Long property scam perpetrated by the Rufino-Prieto family and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s investments in Rappler.