Meralco accused of forgery

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A RANKING official of the Government Service Insurance System yesterday said Meralco officers forged the signatures of its employees in a paid advertisement denouncing GSIS president Winston Garcia for his exposé on the Lopez family’s mismanagement of the power firm.

“They cut the signatures of their employees from their timecards and pasted them in the advertisement,” Estrella Elamparo, GSIS chief legal counsel and spokesperson said.

“If they were doing this, it is not unimaginable that they were also faking the signatures of the shareholders,” she added.

Garcia earlier said that one week before Meralco’s annual stockholders meeting, the Lopez-controlled management solicited proxies even after the deadline for getting votes lapsed last Saturday to reduce representatives of the government financial institutions on the Meralco board from four to three.

The stockholders’ meeting was set on May 27.

Garcia said the Lopez management had refused to provide the GSIS with a list of all proxies in order to validate them and determine how many were obtained by the two warring sides.

He said he was surprised that Meralco’s acting corporate secretary, former Supreme Court Justice Jose Vitug, would deny the basic right of a director and shareholder of the company to get a peek at the proxies list.

Garcia said that having one seat less than the GFIs’ four of 11 board seats would give the Lopezes “full control of the Meralco.

“We smell something fishy is about to happen in the stockholders’ meeting,” he said.

Garcia was hoping that the GFIs would gain majority with four directors voted into the board. If two independent directors will join the GFIs, that will make six out of the 11 votes in the boardroom.

“If our rightful representations are cut down to three through the Lopezes’ manipulation, we will be useless since we can only hope to get at most five votes with the two independent directors. Having four directors is really crucial to ensure consumer activism in the boardroom,” Garcia said.