Catholic Church sold Philex shares to Manny Pangilinan?

Did the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila unload more than 1 million shares of Philex Mining Corporation (PX) in April and May 2011 and sold them directly to Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP)?

Documents from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) seem to show that they did. A cursory look at the latest list of the Top 100 stockholders of Philex confirms that the Catholic Archbishop of Manila is not anymore a major stockholder of the company and that MVP has replaced the Church’s spot as the top 15th shareholder.

MVP bought Philex shares owned by the Church?

Earlier this year, we reported that the Catholic Church — more specifically, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila — is one of the major owners of mining company Philex. With their ownership of 3.2 million shares, they are ranked the top 15th shareholder as of March 2011, with a stake amounting to around PHP66 million. (See Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel)

However in the June 30, 2011 update, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila is conspicuously absent in the Top 100 stockholders list — with tycoon Manny Pangilinan (of Philex, TV5 and Metro Pacific Inc.) now taking over that particular position.

Spot the difference in the list below:

March 2011 list of Top 100 Stockholders in PX

June 2011 list of Top 100 Stockholders in PX

Back in March 2011, Pangilinan used to be the 31st top shareholder of Philex with more than 2.011 million shares. In a span of just three months, he jumped to the 15th position after acquiring an additional 1.12 million shares, bringing his total stake to 3.13 million shares (valued at PHP87 million as of last week).

Did Pangilinan get these shares directly from the Church? Records from the PSE confirm that Pangilinan did buy 618,750 shares on April 8 and another 500,000 shares on May 5 — a total of 1.12 million shares — but the documents do not show who the seller was.

Wise investment move or damage control?

In any case, there’s really nothing illegal about the sale. What’s just interesting is the seemingly sudden decision of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila to unload its shares of PX, especially considering the timing when the company’s stock is rising to all-time high prices. During the past 3 months alone, Philex already registered a 60% price increase from PHP17.00 back in May to PHP27.90 as of August 19.

The sale could have simply been a wise investment move on the part of the Church to lock in profits but, then again, it could also have been an action of damage control in the midst of a backlash that followed the disclosure that they are a top owner of a company that they were rallying against.

The Catholic Church recently came under fire when news of their investment in Philex Mining Corporation broke out because people were confused about their contradicting stand on the issue. While several Catholic dioceses were actively crusading against mining in the country, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila apparently had millions invested in the largest mining company in the Philippines.

Is the Catholic Church Pro- or Anti-Mining?

In 2010, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) published a statement from the bishops of Eastern Visayas calling to “Bring back the Beautiful Land we had once; STOP MINING IN OUR REGION.”

It also reported on February 2010 about a barricade by villagers in Surigao del Norte to “prevent the entry of the country’s largest mining company (Philex) to their village.”

But the Manila diocese’s investment in Philex seems to have weakened this anti-mining position. If the Church is indeed against mining, why is the largest and most powerful Catholic diocese in the country heavily invested in a mining company?

We don’t know exactly why. What we do know is that by divesting itself of Philex shares, the Church made a correct step in preventing further confusion and commotion among its ranks.

Next logical step for them, however, is to explain why they are still invested in San Miguel Corporation — a maker of beer and hard liquor — considering that the Church opposes vice and alcohol.

4 thoughts on “Catholic Church sold Philex shares to Manny Pangilinan?”

  1. Its really hard to fathom the twist of events. Maybe the Bishops or priests doesn’t have the full control where to put their investment in the stock market. They leave it to the experts, which is the stock brokers or their fund managers, and these guys put the money with good high yield returns such as this mentioned blue chips companies without realizing the effect later on that it will have a bad publicity out of good intention. Unknowingly people can access religious organizations investments even though it has to be confidential. And why only the Catholic Church are again target on this? Do the INC, Mormons, Baptist, Muslim don’t have members collections also?

    Next time the Roman Catholic Church should be careful where to invest their money. At least I am glad that they take good care of our parishioners contributions & tights. However, I am sad when will the Archdiocese of Manila and other Catholic religious organizations unload their shares of stocks and share it to their less fortunate diocese in the Archipelago- repair of old churches, hospitals, schools, seminaries? We have heard so many stories of this.

    They should have a time frame in order that this investment proceeds will be used & distributed in good purpose & in the right time rather keeping it ballooned and grow for years in the stock market where only the few will benefit yet the poor & needy parishioners need it most.

    Now is the time that they should set an example that money is just an instrument to help people in need. Please bishops think of it seriously, help our nation too.

  2. By the way I congratulate “My Catholic Church” for choosing the right investment and it is the stock market. For I too started to invest in this high yield yet volatile investment and it really grow your money more than in the bank, insurance instruments, etc. But again, if the figures are true I think the Church should now think seriously and help other poor diocese who has no means of supporting their religious activities because of poor parishioner attendees.

    Perhaps by sharing their blessings, exclusive and expensive Catholic Schools will become affordable to an ordinary Catholic goers who want to enroll. We knew for a fact that most Catholic faithfuls are not that generous when it comes to mass collections contributions compared to other religious sect where they are required to give 10% tight.

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