XIII

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Chapter Thirteen
 
   
Nakita ko ang pagtaas ng kilay ni Mr. Tan sa sinabi ni Warren pero saglit lang 'yon, ngumiti rin siya pagkatapos.

"Girlfriend, hmm.." aniya habang tumatango-tango. "Okay, let's start. Have a seat."

"So Mr. Lazares, why do you have to bring your girlfriend to a private meeting like this?" tanong ni Mr. Tan na ikinadiretso ko ng upo. Wala na ang ngiting kanina niya pa ibinabalandra. Seryosong-seryoso ang dating niya, halos mag-isang guhit na ang kanyang kilay.

"Why do you have to ask? Do you mind?" ganting tanong ni Warren sa kaparehong tono.

Kinakabahan ako. Bakit ba kasi ako yung sinama niya? At bakit niya ba kasi sinabing girlfriend niya ako? Feeling ko tuloy, tatanggihan ni Mr. Tan yung proposal dahil sakin. Hindi pwedeng mangyari 'yon.  Matagal nang pangarap ni Tito Winston ang pag-expand ng L Corp sa China. Hindi pwedeng hindi matupad 'yon.

Ngumiti si Mr. Tan at tumingin sa akin. "No, definitely no. In fact, I'm happy you brought her with you," aniya na ipinagtaka ko. Baka may chance pang tanggapin niya ang proposal. Napangiti ako sa isiping iyon.

Nabigla ako nang biglang umusog ang upuan ko. Ang kanang kamay ko ay natagpuan ko nalang na hawak ni Warren. Shet. Ano 'to?

"Are you flirting with my girl in front of me?" paasik na tanong ni Warren na ikinalingon ko sa kanya. Namumula ang kanyang tenga, magkasalubong ang kanyang kilay at ang kamay niya nakahawak sa kamay ko ay humigpit.

Teka nga. Nagseselos ba siya?

Na-distract ako sa tunog nang-aasar na tawa ni Mr. Tan. "No. We came here for business, aren't we?" tanong niya na hindi naman sinagot ni Warren, nanatili lang itong nakatingin sa chinitong businessman.

Ngumiti pang muli si Mr. Tan bago nag-seryoso." Okay, let's start?" Tumango lang si Warren.

"I've read your company's proposal. You want our company to help yours to expand in China, right?" tanong niya ulit at sumagot lang si Warren ng simpleng yes. Ganito lang ba kasimple ang business meeting?

"But what will we get from that?" muling tanong ni Mr. Tan na ikinapatda ni Warren. Naramdaman ko ang pagluwag ng pagkakahawak niya sa kamay ko.

"Both company's gain is the main objective of our proposal Mr. Tan. I've read in an article that Tan Global has conquered Europe, America and Asia, almost all of the countries in South-East Asia, excluding Philippines. We---" hindi pa man natatapos ang sinasabi ni Warren ay pinutol na agad ito ni Mr. Tan.

"Oh, I see. You want our company to help your expansion plan in China be posibble and you'll help us in, as what you've said, conquering the Philippines?"

"Yes Mr. Tan." walang kakurap-kurap na sagot ni Warren.

Ngumiti si Mr. Tan. "What if the reason why we have conquered almost all countries in South-East Asia except for the Philippines is because we don't want to conquer it at all? And don't you find L Corp conquering China, risky? You know the issues in both country, right?"

"Yes and we won't feel any threat if Tan Global will agree to protect our company."

Grabe para lang akong hangin dito, buti na lang nararamdaman kong nandirito pa ko kasama nila dahil sa pagpisil-pisil ni Warren sa kamay ko.

"Wait, do you want both companies to merge?" Naguguluhang tanong ni Mr. Tan.

"No. It is more of a sister- company relation between the two."

Ngumiti ulit si Mr. Tan, this time, lumingon saglit sa akin.

Ang gwapo niya talaga. Kung hindi lang ako baliw na baliw kay Warren, eh.

"Are you aware of The 1987 Philippine Constitution Article XII Section 11, Mr. Lazares?"

Nakita kong kumunot ang noo ni Warren bago sumagot. "Yes, but I cannot remember exactly what it is written there."

Ngumiti siya ulit. Ano ba 'yan bakit ba ngiti siya ng ngiti?

"No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines, at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens; nor shall such franchise, certificate, or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty years. Neither shall any such franchise or right be granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires. The State shall encourage equity participation in public utilities by the general public. The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of any public utility enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital, and all the executive and managing officers of such corporation or association must be citizens of the Philippines."

Wow. Kabisado niya yun?

"Do you understand what does it mean Mr. Lazares?"

"Yes, of course. Shares belonging to corporations or partnerships should at least %60 owned by Filipino citizens."

"What do you suggest?" nakangising tanong nito.

"I don't have any as of now, Mr. Tan. Do you?" Nararamdaman ko na naman ang paghigpit ng hawak ni Warren sa kamay ko.

"Yes, Mr. Lazares. I have been thinking about it the moment I came in!" masayang wika ni chekwang pogi.

"What is it?" masungit na tanong ni Warren. Akala mo siya yung nasa winning side siya kung makaasta.

Ngumiti siyang muli habang nakatingin sa akin. Walang kakurap-kurap ay sumagot siya na nakapagpayanig ng mundo ko.

"I'll marry your girlfriend."

He's Not Just My Boss (Published under PSICOM)Basahin ang storyang ito ng LIBRE!