Damage control: Finex CFO of the year Anabelle Chua on the hot seat of PLDT probe of P48B capex overprice; MVP eyes ex-First Pacific CFO Chris Young as replacement

A long-time and widely-respected executive of bilyonaryo Manuel V. Pangilinan is reportedly on the hot seat of a months-long probe into possible anomalies in the P48 billion overrun in PLDT’s capital spending over the last four years.

A Babbler said Annabelle Chua, chief financial officer and chief risk management officer of PLDT and a director of the Philippine Stock Exchange, has reportedly been suspended during the investigation of what the company has termed as an “overrun” representing 13 percent of its P379 billion total capital expenditures (capex) from 2019 to 2022.

PLDT is adamant that its months-long probe has “not uncovered any fraudulent transactions, procurement, anomalies, or loss of assets arising from the capex spend.”

Babbler said Pangilinan has reportedly eyed First Pacific CFO Chris Young, who just retired last July, on the short list of Chua’s replacement.

Young was PLDT’s chief financial advisor from 1998 to 2005.

Chua, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of the Philippines, has been CFO since 2015 and chief risk officer since 2018. The Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) named Chua its CFO of the year in 2021.

The 61-year old former Citibanker was promoted to senior vice president in 2002 or just four years after joining the company as head of corporate finance in 1998.

Aside from Chua, Babbler said PLDT SVP and chief procurement officer Mary Rose R. Dela Paz has also reportedly been suspended.

Dela Paz, who was promoted to her current post three years ago, was PLDT-Smart director for business transformation from 2016 to 2019 and vice president for supply chain from 2009 to 2014.

PLDT has so far announced three major changes in its top brass:

*SVP Danny Yu as group controller (effective November 17);

* SVP Emmanuel Ramon C. Lorenzana as chief transformation officer effective January 1, 2023; and

*SVP Joseph Ian G. Gendrano as chief technology officer starting January 1, 2023.

Top financial exec in the eye of the storm? PLDT probing mind-boggling P48B capex overprice

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