Danding Cojuangco

  (Redirected from Eduardo Cojuangco)

Eduardo Murphy Cojuangco Jr. (June 10, 1935 – June 16, 2020), better known as Danding Cojuangco, was a Filipino businessman and politician. He was the chairman and CEO of San Miguel Corporation,[2] the largest food and beverage corporation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He served as a Philippine ambassador and governor of Tarlac.[3] In 2016, his personal wealth was estimated at US$1.16 billion,[1] and it was estimated that at one time, his business empire accounted for 25% of the gross national product of the Philippines.[3] Cojuangco was widely considered a crony during the Marcos regime.

Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Tarlac's 1st District
In office
December 30, 1969 – September 23, 1972
Preceded byJosé Cojuangco Jr.
Succeeded byVacant[a]
Post later held by Jose Cojuangco Jr.
Governor of Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1967 – December 30, 1969
Personal details
Born(1935-06-10)June 10, 1935
Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippine Islands
DiedJune 16, 2020(2020-06-16) (aged 85)
Taguig, Philippines
Political partyNPC (1991–2020)
Other political
Nacionalista Party (1968–1991)
Spouse(s)Soledad "Gretchen" Oppen-Cojuangco
Children6 (including 2 daughters with Aileen Damiles)
Alma materCalifornia Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
De La Salle College
OccupationPolitician, businessman
Net worthUS$1.3 billion (as of July 2019)[1]
Military service
Allegiance Philippines
Branch/servicePhilippine Air Force

Early life and educationEdit

Cojuangco was born on June 10, 1935, the first-born child of Eduardo Chichioco Cojuangco and Josephine B. Murphy. He completed his high school education at De La Salle College. He attended UP Los Baños and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.[4][5]

Life during the Marcos administrationEdit

Cojuangco's close relationship with Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos earned him a reputation as one of the late dictator's most powerful "cronies."[6] He was called "one of the country's leading businessmen".[7]

Role during Martial LawEdit

Cojuangco was the only civilian among the "Rolex 12", a group of 12 men who planned and enforced the 1972 imposition of Martial Law.[6] He was accused of being the mastermind behind Benigno Aquino Jr.'s assassination by one of the military men convicted in the Aquino-Galman murder case, although Aquino' daughter Kris has stated that whomever she believes killed her father she could "categorically say not Danding Cojuangco."[8][9]

Coco Levy Fund controversyEdit

Cojuangco was implicated in the Coco Levy Fund controversy, a decades-long dispute over funds acquired by the Philippine Government when the Marcos administration levied a tax on copra sold by the Philippines' coconut farmers from 1973 to 1982.[10]

The stated intent of the plan, spearheaded by Cojuangco, was to develop the Philippine coconut industry. But the amount, consolidated in the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), was alleged to have instead been channelled to the private financial interests of the Marcos family and their close associates.[11] The government alleged Cojuangco to have used the coconut levy funds to gain control of a 72.2% stake in United Coconut Planters Bank in 1975;[12] and a total stake of about 47% San Miguel Corporation in 1983,[13] in two blocks of about 20% and 27%, respectively.[10] The coco funds were also used to acquire six oil mills.[12] In 1975, funds from the levy were used by the government to acquire a 72.2% stake in United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB, then still known as First United Bank).[12]

In 1983, Cojuangco acquired a 20% stake in San Miguel Corporation, which the Presidential Commission on Good Government later said he did using the windfalls from the coconut levy fund and United Coconut Planters Bank.[12] Another 27% was placed under the name of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund Oil Mills Group (CIIF), funded through the coco levy.[10] In 1986, all of these assets were sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government after the Marcos Administration had been ousted.[12] In April 2011, the Philippines' Supreme court affirmed Cojuangco to be the owner of the 20% shares in SMC (reduced to about 17% by then because of SMC's expansion since 1983) which he had purchased through the loan from UCPB.[10]

In September 2012, the Supreme court affirmed that the 27% block of San Miguel Corporation shares under the name of the CIIF - reduced to 24% because of SMC's expansion since 1983 - were government-owned.[14] The court also ruled that the funds from these shares could only be used by government for the benefit of the coconut farmers.[14] Later that year, San Miguel Corporation bought back the government's stake for P57.6 billion, ending a 26-year period in which the Philippine government was a major voting block in the corporation.[15]

In November of the same year, the court ruled that a 72.2% stake in UCPB was owned by the state, because they were bought using coco levy funds.[10] This included a 7.22% stake registered under Cojuangco, which he claimed had been his compensation for brokering the bank's purchase in 1975, and the sale of the remaining 64.98% stake in UCPB to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)[10][16]

Political roles after 1986Edit

When Ferdinand Marcos was ousted by the People Power revolution in February 1986, Cojuangco was flown out of the country and into exile along with the Marcos family and Fabian Ver, departing in the early morning of February 25, 1986.[17] Cojuangco was allowed to return in 1989, having spent most of his exile breeding and racing horses in Australia.[18]

In 1992, Cojuangco founded the Nationalist People's Coalition to serve as his vehicle to further his aspirations in the 1992 presidential elections. He was a candidate for the Philippine presidency in 1992, ultimately losing in a tight election to Fidel V. Ramos. Ramos received 23.6% of the vote. Miriam Defensor Santiago came in second with 19.7% and Cojuangco came in third with 18.2%.[19]

He further tested the political waters in 2003, intending to run in the 2004 presidential election, but soon withdrew. He eventually became chairman emeritus of the NPC, wielding influence that earned him a reputation as a "kingmaker" in Philippine politics.[18]

Involvement in sportsEdit

Cojuangco advocated sports in the country, notably basketball, having supported it since the 1980s as a basketball godfather with his Northern Consolidated team. Through San Miguel Corporation, he was able to own three teams in the Philippine Basketball Association: the flagship San Miguel Beermen, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and Star Hotshots. He was also a key benefactor of the De La Salle Green Archers men's basketball team.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

Cojuangco was the eldest child of Eduardo C. Cojuangco Sr. and Josephine B. Murphy. His mother, the daughter of an Irish-Canadian U.S. Army volunteer who married a Filipina woman, was born and raised in Baguio.[21] His father Eduardo Sr., the son of Melecio Cojuangco, was of Chinese descent.[22]

He was married to Soledad "Gretchen" Oppen of Negros Occidental. They had four children: Margarita "Tina" Cojuangco Barrera, Luisa "Lisa" Cojuangco-Cruz, Carlos "Charlie" Cojuangco and Marcos "Mark" Cojuangco.[23] Although later separated, the couple remained legally married even after The Philippine Star reported in March 2018 that Cojuangco was living with 1996 Binibining Pilipinas Universe winner Aileen Damiles and their two daughters,.[24][25][26]


Cojuangco died on June 16, 2020 of heart failure and pneumonia at the St. Luke's Medical Center – Global City, six days after his 85th birthday.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

At his final necrological services, he was surrounded by his family, widow Gretchen Oppen Cojuangco, children, grandchildren and intimate friends.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Congress was dissolved when President Marcos declared Martial Law on September 23, 1972.


  1. ^ a b "Eduardo Cojuangco". Forbes. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Conde, Carlos H. (June 18, 2005). "Spotlight: The Philippines' power broker". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Drogin, Bob (January 1, 1991). "Profile : The King of Cronies Eyes Power in the Philippines : Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. amassed a fortune under Ferdinand Marcos and survived his ouster. He remains an embarrassing thorn in the side of Corazon Aquino". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "No public viewing for 'Boss Danding,' one of PH society's most imposing figures". ABS CBN News and Current Affairs. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Henson, Joaquin (June 10, 2020). "A man for all seasons". The Philippine Star. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Malig, Jojo (April 12, 2013). "'Omega 12' behind Marcos' martial law - US envoy". ABS CBN News and Current Affairs. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  7. ^ Landé, Carl Herman; Waxman, Mickey (1996). Post-Marcos Politics: A Geographical and Statistical Analysis of the 1992 Presidential Election. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 978-981-3055-21-6.
  8. ^ "6 People Who Killed Ninoy Aquino, According to Conspiracy Theorists". FilipiKnow. August 21, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  9. ^ News. "Kris Aquino clears uncle Danding in Ninoy assassination". ABS CBN News and Public Affairs. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Rimando, Lala (April 15, 2011). "Anatomy of Cojuangco's stake in San Miguel".
  11. ^ "Danding Cojuangco and the coco levy funds". GMA News Online. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e Burgonio, Michael Lim Ubac, TJ. "Aquino urged to speak up on coco levy fund, or else". Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Araneta, Sandy. "Gov't loses Danding shares in San Miguel". Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "San Miguel-coco levy saga ends". Rappler. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Dumlao, Doris C. (October 5, 2012). "San Miguel buys back gov't stake for P57.6B". Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  16. ^ Tamayo, Ace (July 10, 2013). "Gov't owns Cojuangco's UCPB shares – SC". Rappler. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  17. ^ "EDSA DAY 4: February 25, 1986". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. February 13, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Dancel, Raul (June 17, 2020). "Philippine 'kingmaker', tycoon and Marcos ally Danding Cojuangco dead at 85". The Straits Times. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  19. ^ Choi, Jungug (2006). Governments and Markets in East Asia: The Politics of Economic Crises. Taylor & Francis. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-415-39902-9.
  20. ^ Catacutan, Dodo (June 17, 2020). "Danding Cojuangco, SMC chairman and basketball godfather, dies at 85". spin.ph. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  21. ^ Parreño, Earl G. (2003). "Boss Danding". Quezon City: First quarter Storm Foundation. p. 45. OCLC 54960241.
  22. ^ "The Most Influential and Enduring Families of the Philippines". Town & Country Magazine Philippines. November 24, 2016. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  23. ^ "Danding Cojuangco, tycoon and political kingpin, dies at 85". Rappler. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  24. ^ Agustin, Victor C. (March 2, 2018). "San Miguel chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. and his new family". The Philippine Star. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  25. ^ "Danding Cojuangco and Aileen Damiles fly to Taiwan to cheer on Green Archers". Philippine Daily. July 8, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  26. ^ "Aileen Damiles reminisces on Danding Cojuangco's birthday celebration two years ago". Bilyonaryo. June 16, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  27. ^ Jazul, Noreen. "Eduardo 'Danding' Cojuangco Jr. dies, 85". Manila Bulletin.
  28. ^ Dominguez-Cargullo, Dona (June 17, 2020). "Negosyanteng si Eduardo 'Danding' Cojuangco pumanaw na" [Businessman Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco dies]. Radyo Inquirer 990AM (in Filipino). Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  29. ^ "Tycoon and kingmaker Danding Cojuangco dies". ABS-CBN News. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "Tycoon and kingmaker Danding Cojuangco Jr passes away at 85". GMA News. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  31. ^ "Businessman Danding Cojuangco dies at 85". CNN Philippines. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  32. ^ "Danding Cojuangco, 85: 'Boss' in business, politics, sports". Philippine Daily Inquirer. June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.