By Jeffrey Damicog
An executive of Nestle Philippines Inc. has accused top officials of the company of trying to smear his reputation and have him kicked out due to his alleged affiliation with President Duterte.
Because of this, Nestle Philippines senior vice president Zander Taningco has filed a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against his fellow executives whom he claimed have been spreading unfounded accusations of his involvement in anomalies concerning the sale of products through government channels.
Those whom he named as respondents in the complaint are Nestle Philippines officials, namely: chief executive officer (CEO), Swiss national Jacques Reber; chief finance officer (CFO), Indian national Mandeep Chhatwal; executive vice president sales director, Filipino Alfredo Dela Cruz; and human resources (HR) director, Filipino Carmen Melisa Antonio.
In his complaint, Taningco said he is “charging these respondents with the crimes of falsification, grave threats, grave coercion, libel, and intriguing against honor, as defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code…”
“It clearly shows that they were actuated by a desire to impeach my good name, reputation, integrity and honesty, to force me to resign because of the alleged anomalies they fabricated,” read his complaint.
The executive suspects the respondents are part of a group supporting Vice President Leni Robredo and wanted him out of Nestle Philippines merely because of his affiliation with Duterte.
“I later discovered that Dela Cruz was the leader of the pro-Robredo faction in Nestle and my perception is that the majority of the board of directors and executive committee of Nestle Philippines Inc. are pro-Robredo,” he said.
“Since my father was a classmate of President Rodrigo Duterte at San Beda College of Law, Class ’72, I became the unwilling target of pro-Robredo group where the respondents belong,” Taningco explained.
Citing a conference back in March, Taningco recounted Dela Cruz questioned the sale of the complainant’s office to government channels “without presenting to us the basis of his accusation” and even “boldly remarked thrice that he does not trust this Duterte government.”
Taningco is the business executive officer of Nestle Professional (NP) which, though still a division of Nestle Philippines, has sales performance that is “not counted in computing the bonuses of Nestle’s CEO, CFO, sales director and HR director.”
He pointed out this “became the envy of these people and the root causes of the crimes, surveillance, harassment and oppression instigated by Nestle’s EVP and sales director Dela Cruz in collusion with Nestle’s CEO, CFO and HR director.”
“Respondents were motivated by personal ill-will or spite to insidiously integrate the sale of Nestle Professional to their poor performance to add more to their bonuses,” he said.
Last Nov. 22, 2017, Reber and Chhatwal handed to Taningco a memo which said an audit was conducted by the Nestle Group Audit (NGA) which the complainant said was “a blitzkrieg attack against my honor and reputation, imputing through innuendoes alleged anomalies perpetrated by my office.”
“I was taken aback. The standard practice is that before the audit results are released, the Audit team confers with the head of office to apprise him of the audit’s observation and discuss the recommendations,” said Taningco who lamented he was denied due process.
The executive also learned that as early as October “respondents disseminated to Nestle SA (Nestle World Switzerland) the claim of respondent Reber on ‘devastating’ anomalies in discounted sale of the Nestle products to government channel.”
“It was reported to me that during the Nestle SA Key Market Conference in Switzerland respondent Reber has rumor-mongered that there was a dubious transaction in the sale of Nestle products to government channels,” Taningco said.
“They circulated their report of fabricated anomalies in the office of Nestle SA in Switzerland and regional office in Singapore through electronic emails or teleconference to globally malign and discredit me and cause dishonor and contempt on my person to destroy my career and reputation,” he added.
Tantingco repeatedly sought a copy of the NGA audit report to study the basis of the allegations but the respondents failed to do so.
“Respondent’s one-page and unsigned copy of Audit Report is not an Audit Report. It is a mere scrap of paper. The document was obviously simulated or fabricated. On this score, crime of falsification may be committed by simulating or fabricating a document,” he stressed about an audit report handed to him on December 5.
Aside from this, Tantingco said the respondents committed grave threats by placing him under surveillance during the several meetings he held with them about the allegations against him.
“I was also restrained from doing my usual activities and was prevented from doing something freely as said threats or intimidation were with the presence of armed men following my car while my cell phone and landline were tapped with eerie sounds of disturbance. To be sure, this constitutes the crime of grave coercion,” he added.