So that the public may know.
We are Anthony Co, Peter Co and Mary Co-Cho. We are among the present owners of Green Cross, Inc. and brothers and sister of Co It aka Gonzalo Co. We write this not just for ourselves but also on behalf of our parents, Jesus Co Ay Tian and Maria Ang Si Co, and brother, Joseph Co, who have long since passed away and therefore cannot speak out to defend themselves.
In recent weeks, our family has again become the target of a concerted media effort by Gonzalo that included newspaper and Internet articles and even paid ads addressed to the President of our country where Gonzalo once again asserts ownership over Green Cross, Inc. and its brands, as well as sole responsibility for their success. Every now and then in the past, articles of this nature have been coming out in the press. We have resisted the urge to respond to them because we feel that this is not a matter of public interest but a private family matter that has already been, or has yet to be, decided by the appropriate government bodies.
We do not wish to respond point by point to the unfounded and unfair assertions in these articles and ads, or to engage in a media exchange with Gonzalo. However, we would like to point out the following:
1. Company start-up in 1952 funded by our father.
It was our father, Jesus Co Ay Tian, who funded the setting up and operations of the company at its inception in 1952, using his life savings at the time, the modest fruits of several years of hard work starting from the time he first arrived in the Philippines in his early teens. Gonzalo did not have that kind of money then. In fact, Gonzalo and his family were merely living with us in the home of our parents at the time. It was also our father who funded our education, managed the business, provided for all our needs until we were of age, and paid our wages (including those of Gonzalo) when we began to work for the company. Claims to the contrary are an insult to our father’s legacy and sacrifice.
2. Company reorganized into a corporation in 1971.
Our father organized the company as a sole proprietorship because, in 1952, it was only Gonzalo who had reached the age of majority. He named the business “Gonzalo Laboratories,” following the Chinese tradition of naming a business after the first-born son. However, he made it clear to Gonzalo that the business was for our family and not for him alone. The company was incorporated in 1971 because by then all of us had reached the age of majority and had been working for the company already for quite some time. None of Gonzalo’s children ever became a shareholder in the company from the time of its incorporation to this date.
3. Gonzalo sold out in the 1980s.
Gonzalo sold his remaining shares in the company, and profited from this, in the 1980s when the company was still struggling and in debt, leaving it to the rest of us to see the company through. It is not true that he was tricked, duped, or eased out of the company. The documents that we presented in court, including those that he himself signed under oath, prove that he voluntarily sold his shares in the company and was duly paid for these.
4. Company grew in the 1990s.
We do not discount Gonzalo’s efforts and contributions while he was still a part of the company, but neither should he discount ours, or those of our parents. Furthermore, it was only towards the 1990s, after he sold out, that the company started to grow, because of hard work and sacrifice by us, the remaining owners and our children, as well as improvements and innovations in production, operations and marketing.
5. Courts dismissed Gonzalo’s claims.
It was only in 2008, or more than 20 years after he sold his last shares of stock in the company, that Gonzalo began to file (unfounded) cases in court contesting our ownership of the company. On the basis of the arguments and documents submitted — including several documents that Gonzalo himself had signed under oath — the various courts where these complaints were filed have dismissed them all and rejected the claims that he now repeats in his press releases. Those decisions have all become final, the last of these in 2012.
6. Brands company-owned since the 1970s.
Gonzalo’s two pending cases at the IPO, which he filed only in 2012 and where he claims ownership over the brand names Green Cross and Zonrox, are the only cases that remain pending from the many that he had filed against us. These brands have been registered in the name of the company since the 1970s on the basis of several documents that include many that Gonzalo himself had signed under oath and submitted to the IPO while he was still the president of the company. These documents have been submitted to the IPO and, if truth and justice will prevail, the IPO should therefore dismiss these cases as well. It is probably for this reason that Gonzalo has once again taken to media to plead his case.
7. IPO simply applied the rules.
Gonzalo apparently filed a complaint against the IPO hearing officer with the Ombudsman and disclosed this to the media. His actions are inappropriate, as the IPO has not resolved the two cases yet. Furthermore, based on Gonzalo’s press releases, the accusations in his complaint are unfounded. All of the IPO hearing officer’s actions have been proper and in accordance with the IPO rules. Gonzalo and his lawyers failed to comply with those rules. If they feel her decision was wrong, they could have elevated this matter to the Court of Appeals, which they did not do. None of the documents that were excluded (much of which were self-serving and drafted only recently) can refute those that we presented. As mentioned, our documents included those that Gonzalo himself had signed under oath and submitted to the IPO in the 1970s and show that the Green Cross and Zonrox brands belong to the company and not to him.
In closing, we ask media and the public not to be misled by Gonzalo’s carefully crafted press releases and relentless and well-funded media campaign. Like most of you, we are law-abiding citizens and private persons who simply wish to live a quiet life. We also happen to be in the right, as explained above. That is why we have patiently gone through and continue to go through the proper legal processes to clear our name.
We take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and prayers. God continues to strengthen us and provide us with the joy and peace of mind we need to stand by the truth.
Anthony Co, Peter Co & Mary Co-Cho