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SM's Teresita Sy-Coson breaks with tradition

SM Investments started out as a shoe store. Now a business empire with $16 billion in assets, the group is led by Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson. (Photo by Akiyoshi Inoue)

MANILA Just after the Philippine presidential election in May, Teresita Sy-Coson telephoned the winner, Rodrigo Duterte. The details of the conversation have not been divulged, but sources hinted that they discussed the importance of pushing reform and stamping out corruption.

Duterte has been a defiant president, executing drug dealers and users despite international outrage and leveling blunt criticism at the U.S. and others. But when Sy-Coson spoke, he listened.

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