The Philippine government has said that Eduardo Cojuangco, chairman of food and beverage combine San Miguel Corp., can remain in his job. Cojuangco was a known supporter of ousted leader Joseph Estrada and late president Ferdinand Marcos.

Haydee Yorac, chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), said that Cojuangco will continue to manage the company, but the PCGG will have five representatives on the San Miguel board.

The PCGG was instituted in 1986 to recover the alleged fortunes illegally amassed by Marcos and his supporters. That year, the PCGG seized San Miguel shares from Cojuangco and his associates alleging they had been acquired with funds earmarked for the development of the country's coconut industry.

Cojuangco has denied the charge. San Miguel will hold a special shareholders' meeting later this month to ratify the sale of a 15% stake in the group to Japanese drinks group, Kirin Brewery Ltd, for $536 million. Cojuangco, who set up the deal with Kirin, will need the support of the PCGG to get the green light for the deal.