Odette Ong, seen here with Cory Quirino, is reportedly a very close associate of former president Cory Aquino. She is one of the prime movers of the Spirit of EDSA movement.
She is now back in Malacanang although her "role" in the new administration is unknown. According to several sources, Ong is conducting an internal audit, a clear function of the Commission on Audit (COA). Why is the new administration allowing a private citizen to conduct an internal audit of all Malacanang transactions?
Ong is said to be somewhat a Meldy Poblador, meaning, an "operator". Or, let's just say, she's actually an "unofficial liaison" between Malacanang and interest groups.
Odette Ong is very influential among political circles. She moves within the inner circles of the Aquino family. She is considered as a dear family friend, like retired General Ramon Montano, Voltaire Gazmin and Cesar Sarino.
Fact is, when the Aquino sisters awarded Filipino boxer Donito Donaire with a ceremony and a party, Ong was there. Among those who attended the lunch were US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, Bro. Bernie Oca of La Salle, Star columnist Popoy Juico and wife Margie, Ambassador Howard Dee, Mila Drilon, Dinky Soliman, Fulgencio Factoran, Cesar Buenaventura, Antonio Gonzalez, Deedee Sytangco, Domingo Lee, Miguel Perez-Rubio, Cesar Sarino, Gen. Voltaire Gazmin, Gen. Ramon Montano, Odette Ong, Speaker Jose and Gina de Venecia, Solar owners William and Wilson Tieng, Ambassador Mercy Tuason, Adolf Azcuna and Maritess Lopez.
There are now fears that Ong is allegedly serving as liaison for several big-businessmen who have interests in several government owned and controlled corporations.
That includes, according to my sources, RPN 9 and IBC 13. Ong is said to be representing Solar entertainment owners William and Wilson Tieng, who have a very serious business interests at RPN 9. Solar owns the primetime evening program slots in RPN 9. Solar has not remitted allegedly the funds which they have collected from advertisers, according to several insiders.
What is most disturbing is the alleged lobbying being undertaken reportedly by Odette Ong on behalf of big-time smuggler Lucio Lao Co. The amount involved reportedly is a whopping P 200 million pesos. Wow.
The deal? Lucio Lao Co wants the new administration to go easy on him, since he has been identified as one of 14 big-time smugglers in the Philippines. Lao Co has been investigated by the Senate, along with fellow alleged smugglers, Vicky Toh and Samuel Lee.
Lao Co is a close buddy of former president Joseph Estrada. In a PCIJ report, Co is described as the "Philippines' chicken king":
Lucio Lao Co topped the list of 14 suspected major smugglers ordered investigated in 1999 by no less than Estrada himself.Co has also maintained a very big contract with Duty Free Philippines, a crony deal which was not investigated during the Arroyo administration.
Co's Puregold Duty Free Shop had come under fire when it bagged the contracts to run the government's duty-free shops in Davao, Cebu, Laoag and Clark without a public bidding. The businessman was subsequently accused of smuggling fake Maling pork luncheon meat, Hope and Champion cigarettes, and Fundador brandy.
The goateed Co also became known as the "chicken king" for shiploads of chicken that he supposedly imported from the United States duty-free then diverted to Metro Manila retail outlets.
A resident of Paco, Manila, Co's family made a fortune from importing cheap glassware from Indonesia. Co himself controls RN Development Corp., which owns the majority shares of Fontana. He is also a director of exploration firm Alcorn Petroleum & Minerals Corp. (APMC).
Co is associated with FVC Realty and Development Corp., which holds the title to Laarni Enriquez's residence at 771 Harvard St. in Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong. The property was formerly under the name of Jacinto Ng, another Estrada friend.
Co once used Luneta as a helipad, to the chagrin of friends and park goers. He is also known for being formerly close to socialite Rosemarie 'Baby' Arenas.
Fact is, Vicky Toh, the alleged paramour of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and Lucio Lao Co are best friends, along with Samuel Lee. Lee was slapped with a 151 million peso tax evasion case but never spent a single second in jail.
A Palace source, whom I will not identify for the moment, says that Ong is really involved in Malacanang in an "unofficial capacity". Ong is said to be undertaking an "internal audit". Wow. Is that the function of the Commission on Audit, not by an individual?
What is there to audit? Auditing is only undertaken to identify some irregularities. Why not allow the COA to do it instead of a close family friend of the Aquinos? This is something very irregular.