CLARK FRREPORT – In what could be an apparent exoneration, the Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) – as an organization – issued a manifesto that clears the beleaguered head of Clark Development Corporation (CDC) of allegations of corruption.
The manifesto,in behalf of the 183-strong organization signed by CILA president Joselito ‘Josh’ Go, belied reports of allegations of extortion.
“We are in utter disbelief that CDC President and CEO Noel F. Manankil is allegedly involved in extorting money in exchange for grants of permits to operate in Clark Freeport,” the manifesto states.
Proving Manankil’s respectability and CILA’s rally behind him was a survey conducted by the said organization among its members after news reports of alleged corruption charges where the manifesto was based.
“Based on the results (of survey), no one had any kind of any irregularity with CDC and to Mr. Manankil in particular. Furthermore, not a single member-locator called our attention to affirm the alleged money extortion nor was there any complaint of any irregularity.” It states.
The strongly worded manifesto also stated: “What is even more appalling is the manner in which the malicious and unproven allegations was done to destroy the character of a very honest and upright individual.”
CILA also called for an impartial and immediate “In-depth” investigation by concerned government agency “to spare Mr. Manankilfrom further embarrassment and dishonor that he does not deserve.”
When news pointing to Manankil quoted an unnamed source broke in one newspaper, both Go and CILA Chairman Steven Virata immediately issued separate statements each.
In the June 30 issue of the Philippine Star, Go said “no one among them (referring to CILA members) has reported allegations of corruption against CDC head”.
In the news account, Go branded the allegations as “black propaganda.”
For his part, CILA Chairman Steven Virata was quoted in the July 1 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying, “We have great faith in Noel Manankil. We have worked with him and there has no incidence of impropriety.”
CILA’s manifesto also stated that members have known Manankil to be a “steadfast and honorable person, dating back to his days as an ordinary employee, rising through the corporate ranks, and until his appointment as head of the government-owned and controlled corporation.”
Earlier, noted businessmen and leading business groups have vouched for the character of Manankil.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce Industry Inc. (PCCI) Regional Governor for Central Luzon Francisco Villanueva, Jr. signed the “manifesto of Support for the Current Leadership of CDC” in behalf of the PCCI members in the entire region.
Villanueva said he has “known Manankil for more than 15 years as (a) an external client when I served as an officer, then as president and eventually as chairman of the Clark Investors and Locators Association from 2002 to 2008, and later as (b) an internal client when I served as a director of CDC from 2008 to 2017.”
For his part, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Levy Laus said: “We’re glad the President (Duterte) has cleared the air on the issue of alleged bribery involvement because it vindicated our own sentiment and position on the integrity of Manankil,”
Another business group in Pampanga, the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (MACCI) has approved on its June 30 meeting a “Resolution Expressing Confidence in the Leadership of Manankil” because his leadership “has been marked by good governance and true concern for the welfare of its stakeholders.”
The resolution signed by MACCI President Arsenio Valdes said that there has been “improved business climate inside the Clark Freeport Zone as well as the rest of the Metro Angeles Area.”
Several Clark locators also expressed support for the beleaguered Clark head.
Global Clark Asset Corp. Chair and President Nora Bitong stated in her letter to the CDC Board of Directors that “I have known Mr. Manankil the past twenty years and I have never encountered any corruption from him.” The firm has been in Clark since 1997.