Press Release
January 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed dismay over the apparent failure of the judicial and law enforcement authorities carry out a Sandiganbayan order for the arrest and prosecution of businessman Herminio T. Disini for allegedly receiving at least $18 million bribe for brokering the fraudulent contract between the government and the American firms Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Burns and Roe for the construction of the 620-megawatt nuclear power plant in Morong, Bataan.

Pimentel said the arrest warrant against Disini was issued by the anti-graft court in March, 2005 but law enforcers were unable to serve the warrant because they could not trace his whereabouts.

He said the government should exhaust all efforts to bring Disini and other personalities involved in the tainted nuclear plant deal to justice if only to show its determination to go after those responsible for the plunder of the economy during the Marcos authoritarian regime.

If Disini is in the Philippines, he should be barred from leaving the country. But if he is staying abroad, appropriate steps must be taken to bring him back to the country, the minority leader said.

Pimentel lamented that the absence of the accused is often invoked by judicial and justice officials in not pursuing a criminal case.

Disini reportedly fled to Austria after the late President Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolt in February, 1986. Disinis last known address in the country was 92 Kennedy Street, Barangay North Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.

Its a sign of a weak government that up to now, the Sandiganbayan warrant for the arrest of Herminio Disini for the $18 million bribery case in the Westinghouse-Bataan nuclear power deal remains unserved. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should step in and order the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration and other government officials to assist in the search and arrest of Disini.

There were reports that Disini has obtained a foreign citizenship, but Pimentel said he could not evade criminal liability for a crime that he committed as a Filipino citizen while he was here in the country.

The arrest warrant for Disinis arrest was issued by members of a Sandiganbayan division Justices Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Roland Jurado. According to the charge sheet prepared by the Ombudsman, Disini used his connection to Marcos to ensure that the nuclear plant contract was awarded to Westinghouse and Burns and Roe. The wife of Disini is Dr. Paciencia Escolin, a cousin of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and family doctor of the Marcoses.

Pimentel noted that the Bataan nuclear power plant was originally estimated to cost $500 million but the country ended up paying more than $2.2 billion for the facility which has become a white elephant after the Aquino government refused to operate it for allegedly being defective and unsafe. Up to now, the government is paying for the foreign loans incurred in constructing the plant.

In 1974, Disini was asked by representatives of Westinghouse and Burns and Roe to act as their go-between with Marcos.

On representation of Disini, Marcos awarded the nuclear power plant contract to Westinghouse and Burns and Roe without the benefit of public bidding.

Based on findings of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Ombudsman, the Westinghouse and Burns and Roe sub-contracted portions of the project to two firms owned by Disini and Marcos the Power Contractor Inc. and Engineering and Construction Company of Asia.

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