Robina gokongwei-pe

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Robina Y. Gokongwei-Pe is the eldest child John Gokongwei Jr., founder and Chairman Emeritus of the publicly-listed company JG Summit Holdings Inc. (JGSHI). Her name was taken from her father’s second name, Robinson. In addition, Gokongwei named publicly-listed company Universal Robina Corporation after her. She serves as a Director in the various JG Summit subsidiaries and affiliates. Robina is also a columnist for the Sunday Lifestyle section of the daily newspaper The Philippine Star.


Personal life

Robina is the eldest of the six children. She is married to Atty. Perry Pe, Independent Director of Araneta Properties Inc. She and Atty. Pe have one child, Justin, who is also the eldest of the Gokongwei grandchildren.


Robina studied in Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA) from kindergarten to high school. In college, she was an Economics major and a Sportswriter for the Philippine Collegian in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the New York University.

Professional profile

Robina joined the Board of Directors April 2009, Cebu Air Inc. on August 2007, and of Robinsons Land Corporation on May 2005. Among the other subsidiaries, she sits as a Director of Robinsons Savings Bank and JG Summit Capital Markets Corporation. Further, she is currently the Senior Vice President and Group General Manager of the Robinsons Retail Group consisting of Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Handyman, True Value, Robinsons Specialty Stores, Robinsons Appliances, and Toys R Us.

Sale of Manila Times

In 1988, Gokongwei acquired the national daily Manila Times from the Roces family. In February 16, 1999, Robina’s editors wrote a headline about he government’s anomalous contract with the foreign group IMPSA, which led former President Joseph Estrada to file a P101 million libel suit against the Manila Times owners and editors on March 9, 1999.

In April 8, 1999, Robina, being the publisher of Manila Times, issued a front-page apology, leading to the resignation of the paper’s editors and reporters. The following day, April 9, Estrada withdrew his libel case.

Eventually, Gokongwei sold Manila Times to lawyer Katrina Legarda and businessman Reghis Romero for P20 million in July 22, 1999.

Kidnapping incident

On August 20, 1981 while Robina and her cousin Celina Ngochua were being driven to school, they were kidnapped along P. Tuazon Avenue. This is contrary to what is portrayed of her in a year 2000 movie that she was kidnapped along school premises while jogging. From Corner Conrado Benitez Street, the kidnappers took over their HI-Ace Van.

Robina and Celina together with their driver Roberto Rosaldo, were then brought to a sugarcane field in Calamba, Laguna where they were detained overnight in a small hollow block bungalow. Robina was then instructed to write a note to her father, which was constructed to be delivered by their driver. Upon receipt of the note, her father immediately sought assistance from then National Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile who ordered the mobilization of the military authorities that afternoon. In due time, the kidnappers called up Gokongwei on the telephone and demanded a P7 million ransom for the release of the victims. The three kidnappers were later identified as Bayani Lasian, Florito Darusin, and Arturo Sarabia.

On August 22, 1981, Lasian recorded Robina’s voice. This taped voice of Robina was relayed to Gokongwei thru a telephone. However, Gokongwei did not concede to negotiations unless he heard his daughter’s actual voice. Hence, on the eve of August 23, 1981, she was made to talk to her father thru a public telephone. The final negotiation for the release of the victims was reduced to P1.5 million pesos.

In the evening of August 24, 1981, Robina and Celina were fetched from Calamba by a newcomer, who was later identified as Edgardo Lim. Together with Lasian and Sarabia, they were brought to Holiday Motor Lodge, Ermita, Manila, where military operatives led by then Lt. Col. and now Senator Ping Lacson rescued Robina and Celina on the evening of August 26, 2011.

The operatives managed to capture Bayani Lasian and Arturo Sarabia. The other identified collaborators namely, Florito Darusin and Mario Suelto were also arrested. Meanwhile, Edgardo Lim and Rodolfo Ramirez voluntarily surrendered to the military authorities and have been detained until they were acquitted on May 8, 1991.

In the succeeding triasls, a question is asked as to what happened to the identified conspirators Lasian, Sarabia, Darusin and Mario Suelto, who appeared to have been arrested and taken into custody by the military authorities. The PC Chief was given 30 days to submit a written report; however, records do not show that any of such report was made at all.Furthermore, the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping incident is said to be the son of a judge from Cebu. The judge from the lower court found him guilty, but when the case came up to the Supreme Court, the justices acquitted him.




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