Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., who was one of the country’s most powerful and controversial personalities in the realm of business, sports and politics, died last week of a heart attack in a Taguig hospital.
Cojuangco was a first cousin of the late President Cory Aquino and uncle of President Noynoy Aquino.
Tarlac’s favorite son gained prominence during the martial law era as a member of then President Marcos’ so-called kitchen Cabinet. In fact, he was a passenger on the plane which flew Marcos and his family to Hawaii in February 1986 in the wake of Edsa 1.
As a close associate of the late strongman, Cojuangco succeeded in acquiring control of San Miguel Corporation from the Soriano family in 1983.
Cojuangco returned from exile in 1989 and proceeded to establish the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), under whose banner he run for the presidency in 1992, eventually losing to Fidel V. Ramos.
In July 1998, Cojuangco regained control of SMC (which slipped out of his hands when he joined Marcos in exile) soon after Joseph Estrada, whom he had supported during the elections, was sworn into office as President of the Philippines.
Throughout his storied career, Cojuangco has been associated with firms like Coca Cola, United Coconut Planters Bank and Northern Cement, aside from his affiliation with various successful hoop squads that earned him the title “Godfather of Philippine Basketball.”