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P.Noy uncle Ernesto Teopaco has cut a deal with their group's local and Canadian partners in the faction-ridden King-king mining claim, leaving former Transportation Secretary Jose "Ping" de Jesus and his friend Nadecor chairman Jose Ricafort to face a string of fresh lawsuits in their decision to rescind a mining agreement with Toronto-listed St. Augustine Gold and Copper over King-king mine.
Lawyer Nilo Divina confirmed that minority shareholders have dropped Teopaco, who is married to Cory Aquino's youngest sister Maria Paz, from the impending litigation against Teopaco's partners led by Ricafort and De Jesus, Nadecor president.
"We are no longer suing Teopaco because he already agreed to sign the transfer documents to our clients," Divina said, adding that his clients include former Nadecor chairman Conrado Calalang and other minority shareholders.
Divina declined to elaborate ahead of the June 13 meeting of the asset-rich Nationwide Development Corp., which is asking shareholders to ratify the Ricafort-De Jesus decision to jettison a joint-venture deal with St. Augustine for the development of one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world, located just 35 kilometers east of Davao City.
Calalang, on the other hand, is allied with St. Augustine and so does, strangely, a son of Ricafort, Raymond, the entrepreneur behind Netopia, the Internet cafe chain.
Raymond declined to be interviewed, other than confirming that Calalang and him had been ousted earlier this year from the Nadecor management by the group led by the elder Ricafort, apparently over unresolved financial issues with St. Augustine.
According to the pro-Ricafort grapevine, the elder Ricafort-Teopaco group controlled about 53 percent of Nadecor, with the balance of 47 percent belonging to Calalang and other minority shareholders.
What further complicated the boardroom politics is last week's announcement that the Ricafort-Teopaco group had allowed a company controlled by Senator Manuel Villar Jr. to acquire 25 percent of the company.
With the Villar entry, the Calalang group's shareholdings have been reduced to about 34.5 percent, giving the Teopaco-Ricafort group and new partner Villar undisputed super-majority grip on Nadecor.
According to the pro-St. Augustine grapevine, St. Augustine has already made plans to bring Nadecor to litigation in Singapore in view of the announcement by Nadecor terminating their mineral production sharing agreement.
St. Augustine's counsels include the Sycip Salazar and the Marcos Ochoa Serapio &Tan law offices.
The Teopaco-Ricafort group, on the other hand, is being represented by Accra.
o Because of the hasty decision by the late Education Secretary Raul Roco and Undersecretary Ernesto Pangan, the Department of Education is now being ordered by the Court of Appeals to pay P112 million plus interest to the Rizal Teachers Kilusang Bayan for Credit. The money represented the payroll deductions to the salary loans extended by the private cooperative to public school teachers, which Roco, with an eye to Malacanang, had ordered stopped in 2001.
o Two Cabinet secretaries, Mar Roxas and Cesar Purisima, were caught in an official Malacanang photograph looking at their cell phones and reading their text messages despite being beside P.Noy while the latter was greeting Rolls-Royce Aero managing director Alan Webber in London last week.
Heard through the grapevine
The chief executive of the newly-listed Calata Corp., Joseph Calata, has written the Philippine Stock Exchange to investigate possible stock market manipulation that saw Calata share price zoom as much as three times its initial public offering price.
The trades were mostly coursed through two little-known brokerages, Sun and Nieves.
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