The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson expressed “deep sadness” in the passing of the tycoon and political kingmaker Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. He was 85.
Cojuangco, popularly known as Boss Danding to people close to him, was chairman and Chief Executive Officer of San Miguel Corporation. His shares was bought by Ramon Ang in 2012.
Forbes had been consistently listing him among the richest in their Forbes 500 list, reporting his latest net worth at $1.1 billion.
The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, in an official statement, recognized the man’s “immense contribution to the socioeconomic development of the Philippines through the company’s operations in food, beverages, energy, power, oil refining, and infrastructure.”
“SMC has provided livelihood opportunities to tens of thousands of our countrymen as direct workforce, and creation of additional jobs as suppliers, distributors, retailers, and the like. 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,” the statement added.
Forbes, in their profile, describes Cojuangco as a politician-diplomat-businessman and Marcos era crony, “who own[ed] a private cement-manufacturing business and is invested in orchards, stud farms, and wineries in Australia”.
Cojuangco was the founder of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, one the major political parties in the country. He ran in the 1992 presidential elections and lost to Fidel Ramos.
The book Some are Smarter than Others by Ricardo Manapat lists Cojuangco as one of the cronies of President Marcos while various media outlets cite his close friendship with the late president as key to his rise in power as one of the richest men in the country.