By Herbert Vego
THIS is not to say that a royal couple of the United Kingdom (UK) is running after an Ilonggo businessman, Martin Soriano. In fact, Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle might never have heard of him.
But if you have not heard of Victor Martin J. Soriano, you were either unborn or still a small child when he astounded us Ilonggos on August 7, 1994 by swimming the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait continuously – a distance of 4.2 nautical miles (7.7 kilometers). Nobody else has done that feat.
While he has kept a low profile since then, quietly embarking on business ventures in Metro Manila, he might just find himself talk-of-the-town once more due to a legal tussle with Archewell Foundation of UK, allegedly chaired by Prince Harry.
You see, Martin is engaged in local production of Archewell Harvatera, his brand of tawas-based deodorant. Use of that name has been questioned before the Intellectual Property Office in Taguig City by Cobblestone Lane LLC (representing Archewell Foundation) through the Federis & Associates Law Office.
Cobblestone opposes Soriano’s use of the name Archewell Harvatera.
Soriano, in a chit-chat with us Friday, expressed confidence that the Intellectual Property Office would pay no credence to Cobblestone’s opposition since, being a foundation, Archewell is not a business competitor of Archewell Harvatera.
Oh well, Prince Harry and Meghan are said to enjoy a net worth of $30 million dollars. It boggles the imagination that they are running after a small entrepreneur, unless they also want to manufacture tawas deodorant.
If I were Prince Harry, I would ink a partnership deal with Martin. Everybody happy, di ba?
Don’t you agree, Birdman Vargas?
MISSING THE BRILLIANT LEGISLATORS
If you dear readers were already alive and conscious in the 1950s and the 1960s, you would shake your head whenever you hear today’s senators and congressmen speak up to lick the boots of President Duterte.
In those years, our senators were brilliant. Aside from filing sensible bills and resolutions, they unanimously resonated their voices against graft and corrupt practices in the government, even holding the President accountable for some of them.
One of them, the Stonehill scandal of 1962, implicated the highest government officials — including President Diosdado Macapagal, then Senator President Ferdinand Marcos, and former President Carlos P. Garcia – for accepting bribes from American expatriate businessman Harry Stonehill, who was facing tax evasion, economic sabotage (smuggling), and various other charges.
Today’s senators and congressmen – sorry for the few who try to make a difference — are of the opposite kind. They are muzzled to the point of diverting issues whenever controversial ones hound Malacañang.
Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, for example, defended the unlawful vaccination of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) with the China-made Sinopharm vaccine without the requisite approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He commended them for risking their lives as “guinea pigs” to protect the president.
Bato and Sen. Francis Tolentino could have also received at least a pat from the “boss” for filing a resolution calling for a Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass) to amend the Constitution. Cha-Cha na naman?
In the House of Representatives, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has also flashed the green-light to resume Cha-Cha hearings this month.
Ah ewan. To say it’s for the good of the people is like playing broken record. When they themselves trample the present Constitution, of what use is another except for their own good?
Take note that they have sat on the provision of the constitution to ban political dynasty through an enabling law. All bills to that effect have landed in the waste can.
As in the days of Presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo when the same matter was pushed up but to no avail, we see the proposed Con-Ass – with no less than the legislators sitting thereat — as another attempt to perpetuate the present government in power, say by abolition of term limits for elective officials.
GEARING FOR TWO ANNIVERSARIES
MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) is celebrating two milestones in February 2021 – the second anniversary of the approval of its franchise as power distribution utility in Iloilo City, and the first anniversary of the day it actually assumed responsibility as such.
One recalls that it was on February 14, 2019 when President Duterte signed the law (Republic Act No. 11212) awarding to MORE Power the new congressional franchise to energize the city for the next 25 years by expropriating the facilities of PECO in exchange for the amount of P481 million.
However, it was only on February 29, 2020 (a leap year) that the company took over operation from Panay Electric Co. (PECO) despite the expiration of the latter’s franchise on January 18, 2019 yet in view of a court case questioning the expropriation provisions of the franchise law.
PECO had actually applied for renewal of its franchise in 2017 yet, but the House of Representatives shelved it due to mounting customers’ complaints over poor service, giving way to the new company as the successful applicant.
Congratulations to MORE Power. Under the able leadership of its president and chief operating officer, Roel Z. Castro, the new utility has proven itself capable of upgrading and replacing old and obsolete power lines.
While counting down to the aforementioned anniversary milestones, we would be writing more on how MORE hopes to modernize its substations and feeders in the next three years at the cost of P1.9 billion.
More power to MORE Power!