Conflict of interest

Update December 2020

The 2020 ASEAN Tobacco Industry Interference Index[1] describes efforts made by governments to insulate themselves against tobacco industry interference, which remains a great concern particularly in developing countries. Conflicts of interest arise when senior government officials cooperate with tobacco companies to promote the industry’s interests during tobacco control policy development and enforcement.

Conflicts of interest reported in the ASEAN region are:


Conflict of interest


The president of the LYP Group – which owns the cigarette business, Hero King Co., LTD – is currently a senator. The government does not prohibit political contributions to parties, candidates, or campaigns from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further industry interests, or to require full disclosure of such contributions.


There are no rules that prohibit contributions from any sources including the tobacco industry during the electoral campaign, nor for retired government officials to work for the industry after their government services. As regards to this, a retired Director at the Ministry of Industry appointed as the Secretary General of GAPPRI (Indonesian Cigarette Factory Association).[4]

Lao PDR[5]

There are no political campaigns in Lao – hence no political donations. However, key government officials in the Ministries of Finance and Industry and Commerce currently hold positions in the TI Joint Venture Board of Management.


There were no new appointments among recent senior government retirees. The former Secretary General of the Ministry of Home Affairs remains the Chairman of BAT Malaysia. The employee provident fund (EPF) continues to hold shares in tobacco business – BAT.[7]


The government does not prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests. While there are no publicly available records found, there are retired senior government officials who have joined the tobacco industry.


All the incidents included here are based on publications and postings and would require extensive investigation to ascertain whether or not these constitute a direct violation of existing laws and policies in the Philippines. However, for purposes of determining the rating in this Section, incidents which show that a former government official is subsequently employed by the tobacco industry will be considered as “Conflict of Interest.” While these former government officials are no longer connected to the government, by virtue of their previous government post, they can influence the development of tobacco control policies and the enforcement thereof.

As regards retired senior officials forming part of the tobacco industry, former Solicitor General Estrelito Mendoza is counsel of Lucio Tan, the Chairman of PMFTC. The following retired government officials form part of the Board of Trustees of Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc., the CSR arm of Lucio Tan Group of Companies:

·       Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban;

·       Former Prime Minister Cesar E.A. Virata; and

·       Former Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Amando Tetangco.[10]


Retired senior government officials have regularly been appointed as TTM board members. Current government officials such as a senior officer from the Excise Department and the Ministry of Finance are TTM board members. Since the TTM is a state enterprise, the appointment is seen as normal. Currently, the chairman of TAOT is from the business sector. TAOT’s committee comes from various fields including three from public universities, two are working at the Ministry of Finance and one is the representative from the Royal Thai Police.[12]


No new appointment of government official to tobacco industry. The appointment of staff from Ministry of Industry and Trade to VINATABA which happened in 2014 still remains in office in 2020 (Mr. Ha Quang Hoa-Deputy Director of Department of Light Industry was appointed to be Vice Director of VINATABA in 2014.[14] Mr. Ho Le Nghia, Vice Director of Industrial Policy and Strategy Institute was appointed to be in board member of VINATABA in 2014 and become acted as the Party Secretary, and Chairman of the Members’ Council of VINATBA in 2018).[15], [16]

[1] J. L. Reyes. SEATCA Tobacco Industry Interference Index: Implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in ASEAN Countries, 2020. November 2020. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA). Bangkok, Thailand.

[2] Cambodia Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.  

[3] Indonesia Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.


[5] Lao PDR Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.  

[6] Malaysia Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.  

[7] The Star Malaysia; 21 April 2018

[8] Myanmar Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.

[9] Philippines Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.  

[10] Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc.

[11] Thailand – country summary, Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.

[12] Tobacco Authority of Thailand, Board of Directors, Retrieved from https://www.thaitobacco. (accessed on 10 May 2020)

[13] Vietnam Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.