Who is SEC Commissioner Jesus Martinez?
March 9, 2009
Jesus Enrique G. Martinez was appointed commissioner in the 5-man board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 14, 2002 for a seven-year term that will end this Wednesday.
As a corporate law practioner and law professor, he’s an expert in mergers and acquisitions, joint venture negotiations and investments. He discusses issues related to these in his column in Business Mirror.
He used to be a politician, holding positions as provincial board member, city vice-mayor, special counsel to the chairman of the Philippine Coconut Authority, and special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments, according to his SEC profile.
He studied in Ateneo de Manila High School where he was a batchmate of Social Service System President Romulo Neri and Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona.
He’s also an officer and senior member of the Jesus Is Lord-led party-list group, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC).
In 2005, the Office of the President almost suspended Martinez for one year for allegedly failing to pay P600,000 of his seven-year old debts to his former Baguio-based friend and business partner.
Martinez claimed then that the suspension was a harassment effort. His office said the suspension was not served.
As a commissioner, Martinez reportedly earns P2.4 million a year.
He has been involved in the following various controversies that involved the corporate regulator.
- College Assurance Plan (CAP)
When the ailing pre-need company was facing congressional investigations and public outcry in 2005 about unpaid tuition fees of almost one million educational pre-need clients, Martinez was one of those who was still willing to give CAP a chance.
In the Senate and House hearings, he backed CAP-led proposals to relax financial and actuarial standards, which were the reasons CAP was found by SEC line managers to be already bankrupt. By relaxing SEC’s existing reporting standards, CAP would have been able to buy more time to entice additional clients whose fresh funds would pay for CAP’s obligations to old clients.
The SEC has not issued CAP a new dealers license since CAP was not able to find a white knight when it was financially hemorrhaging from 2003 onwards.
In May 2008, during the contentious annual stockholders meeting of giant power distributor, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Martinez single-handedly signed a SEC-issued Show Cause Order that favored a Meralco major shareholder then.
The state-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Lopez family and their allies were in a well-publicized battle for control of the power company.
Martinez’s Show Cause Order essentially gave GSIS—which then had less proxy votes to help it clinch more Meralco board seats than the Lopezes—the chance to elevate the corporate battle to a legal war.
GSIS eventually sold its Meralco shares to San Miguel Corporation.
- Legacy Group
In a Senate hearing on Monday, March 9, two former executives of the embattled Legacy Group testified that the financial services firm’s founder, businessman-turned-politician, Celso de los Angeles, has close ties with Martinez.
Martinez currently heads the SEC board’s oversight committee in charge of the Non-Traditional Department (NTD).
The NTD supervises the pre-need companies, including those that belonged to the Legacy Group.
A former Legacy Group executive said de los Angeles met with Martinez in late 2007, when the NTD did not issue dealers license to the Legacy-linked pre-need companies because their trust funds were deficient.
The executive also said Martinez’s son acquired a car and a house which were funded by Legacy rural banks. — by LALA RIMANDO, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak
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