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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Former Amb. Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, Jr., Filipino business tycoon, passes away at 85

Filipino tycoon Danding Cojuangco, Jr. passes away

MANILA – One of the country’s richest businessmen, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. died last night at the age of 85.

Media accounts said “San Miguel Corporation announced the passing of its chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. on the evening of June 16,2020” in a disclosure to the stock exchange. He has held the positions since July 1998.

San Miguel president Ramon Ang confirmed the former ambassador’s passing in a release from Bloomberg early today.

He was a close associate of then strongman President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. In 1992, he ran for the presidency but lost to former AFP Chief of Staff and Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos.

His friendship with the Marcos family caused the falling-out with his close relative, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who succeeded authoritarian Marcos in 1986 after the People Power Revolution in February that year.

With his cousin Corazon Aquino swept to power, businessman Cojuangco left the country and opted to return in November 1989 and later founded his Nationalist People Coalition, one of the political groups aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

He was uncle of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III.

The tycoon is credited for building San Miguel Corporation into a business empire with investments in food, beverage and infrastructure projects. He was reported to have a net worth of US$1 billion, said to be the last among 15 Filipinos included in the list of the world’s billionaires.

He was one of President Marcos’ associates assigned to promote sports. He was tasked to take charge of Basketball and credited for the Philippines’ first championship at the Jones Cup in Taiwan with Northern Cement in 1981.

At the Philippine Basketball Association, he was credited for having owned three teams and for his “countless contribution to the PBA and Philippine sports.”

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said they are “deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., at the age of 85.”

In a statement, he credited the business tycoon for his role in providing livelihood opportunities to thousands as direct workforce and creation of additional work as suppliers, distributors, retailers, among others.

“In these trying times, Mr. Cojuangco’s SMC has been a reliable partner of the government in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 by providing support and assistance to frontliners and vulnerable sectors,” he said.

Meanwhile, PCOO Secretary Martin M. Andanar said the late business tycoon was “vital to San Miguel Corporation’s success as a conglomerate and its pursuit of socioeconomic progress for the Philippines through diversified corporate endeavors.”

He described the late businessman “was not only a loss of a patriarch to his loved ones and SMC, but also a loss of a philanthropist to the people and a reliable partner of the government in poverty alleviation and economic development.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Former Ambassador Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. in a more relaxed photo courtesy of Tony Lopez of AsiaBizNews.

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