Book 9: Give and Take

Part 2.  Marcos got 53.86 % of Bulletin shares!

MANILA DAILY BULLETIN was founded in 1900 by an American called Carlson Taylor.  It published the shipping news and the arrivals and departures of prominent businessmen, and was given away free to the members of the American Chamber of Commerce.  Gradually it evolved into a business paper of limited circulation, with pink pages of shipping schedules paid for at cheap advertising rates.

In 1957, Carlson Taylor decided to retire and return to the USA, and offered to sell the Bulletin to Hans Menzi, a manufacturer of paper products and agricultural commodities.  Menzi was born in 1910, a Filipino of Swiss parentage who lost his citizenship when his father enlisted him in the Swiss Army.  He regained his citizenship through naturalization before World War II, and served well in guerilla movement against the Japanese.

The negotiations ended in Nevada, USA, where Menzi paid Taylor $250,000 (or P500,000) for 100 percent ownership of the Manila Bulletin.

In 1966, Bulletin had daily circulation of 55,000, third to Manila Times (186,000) and Manila Chronicle (74,000).  By 1972 before martial law, it had a circulation of 65,965 copies daily, second to Manila Times (244,127), and outstripping Daily Express (64,267), Evening News (48,921), Daily Mirror (47,165) and Manila Chronicle (46,972).

Today it has a circulation of from 180,000 to 220,000 daily, running neck to neck with the Philippine Daily Inquirer which now claims to be Number One, with a provincial circulation three times as much as Bulletin.

When martial law was imposed on September 21, 1972, Marcos closed all newspapers except the Daily Express of his crony Roberto Benedicto.  Despite the fact that Menzi served him as Presidential Aide, Marcos closed down the Bulletin for two months.

Marcos allowed it to resume publication only if it changed its name to Bulletin Today, and only if Menzi complied with a Marcos Presidential Decree limiting media ownership or interest of any individual or entity to not more than 20 percent of equity.  The Marcos decree widely publicized, later disappeared from official files.

As of December 31, 1972, the Menzi group owned 7,814 shares (53.9 percent of outstanding); Emilio Yap and US Automotive, 3,892 shares (26.8 percent; Zobel Group, 2,162 shares (14.9 percent); others, 632 shares (4.4 percent); total, 14,500 (100 percent).

Marcos demanded that the majority of the stock be turned over to his nominees: JY Campos, Cesar Zalamea, and Ramon Cojuangco of the PLDT. Shortly afterwards the Bulletin stock were distributed thus:

Menzi group, 8,000 shares (19.4 percent); Emilio Yap group, 7,006 shares (17.0 percent); Zobel group, 3,653 shares (8..8 percent); Marcos group, 22,000 (55.3 percent); others, 624 (1.5 percent); total, 41,283 (100 percent).

The increase of capitalization (from 14,500 shares to 41,283 shares, at P100 per share, was accomplished with infusion from the following: Marcos P2,200,000; Yap P311,400; Zobel P149,100; Menzi P17,800.  The Marcos nominees (Campos, Zalamea and Eduardo Cojuangco who replaced his cousin Ramon) never showed up at meetings and their shares were voted by Menzi who was designated by Marcos to run the Bulletin.

On January 20, 1977, Hans Menzi made a will directing that all his properties be transferred to the Menzi Trust Fund, Inc., the income of which be spent for charity and other purposes, and naming Manuel G. Montecillo as his Executor.  On February 19, 1977, Menzi signed a codicil to his will, giving Ricardo Ching, Master Sidney Santos and Lito Abella, expenses for a college education; and P50,000 annually to Ricardo Ching for ten years after his death.

In 1983, Atty. Manuel Montecillo (representing Menzi) and Mr. Rolando Gapud (representing Marcos) organized HM Holdings and Management Inc., a holding company to which all shares of Menzi in all his companies and of Marcos’ nominees in Bulletin and Liwayway would be transferred.

General Menzi was quoted as having said to his Secretary-Treasurer Mariano Quimson: “He (President Marcos) knows I (Menzi) am sickly, and the children now want a part of the action.”  It was reported that since he is unmarried and childless, his heir will be Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr.

About three months before his death, Menzi instructed Quimson to report, as per Marcos’ instructions, the monthly statements of both Bulletin and Liwayway Publications and to deliver all dividend checks of the Marcos’ nominees to Mr. Roland Gapud, known finance man of Marcos.

As of August 18, 1983, with an increase of authorized stock to 1,250,000 shares at P100 per share, the Security and Exchange Commission reported that the Marcos group had 53.86 percent control of Bulletin:

Menzi group, 153,860 or 24.1 percent; Yap group, 138,795 or 21.75 percent; Marcos group divided among Zalamea (114,573), Campos (114,573) and Cojuangco (114,586), 343,732 or 53.86 percent; others 2,925 or 0.46 percent; total, 638,223 or 100 percent.