Tycoon and former Marcos crony Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. is dead. He was 85 years old.
Radio reports say that Cojuangco died due to lung cancer. A Wikipedia entry however quoted St Luke’s General Hospital placed the cause of his death on heart failure and pneumonia. His family decided to immediately cremate the body and just hold a private wake his honor.
One of the wealthiest men in the Philippines, Cojuangco’s wealth is estimated to be around US$ 1.6 billion. Cojuangco’s first foray into business was when he helped his father run their cement business in Tarlac. It was said that Cojuangco managed to turn the ailing business around and place North Consolidated Cement as one the country’s biggest cement company.
During the sixties, Cojuangco befriended former President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos fostered a strong bond with Cojuangco who reportedly financed Marcos’ electoral fights.
When martial law was being discussed, rumors swirled that one of two civilians whom Marcos consulted included Danding. The other one was former Defense minister and senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile and Cojuangco were members of the infamous “Rolex 12”
Cojuangco was the one behind the controversial Coco levy fund, one of the first public crowd sourcing financing scheme of its time. Millions of farmers were taxed purposively to fund the modernization of the coconut industry. Reports at that time says that it was Danding who thought of using coco levy funds to buy the Sorianos out of San Miguel Corporation.
When masses of people overwhelmed the Marcoses in 1986, Danding went packing. He, however, managed to stage a comeback in 1989 at the height of the worse coup d’erat against his cousin, former president Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. He was never incarcerated for his alleged crimes, and even ran for the presidency in 1992 against his former co-Rolex 12 member, Fidel Valdez Ramos.
After founding the Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC, Cojuangco slowly disengaged himself from politics and just concentrated on growing San Miguel Corporation alongside Ramon S. Ang, his trusted friend. Cojuangco eventually faded in the political limelight and just lived his final days with his live-in partner Arleen Datiles, a Binibiining Filipina.