Press Release
August 6, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed fears that the ill-gotten wealth case against Marcos crony Herminio Disini is headed for dismissal by the Sandiganbayan following a recent decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to unfreeze a $4 million bank deposits belonging to him.

The decision was issued by the Swiss high tribunal due to the failure of the Philippine government to comply with the requirements to recover the money, believed to be part of the assets that the late President Ferdinand Marcos, close relatives and cronies plundered from the national treasury and economy during the 20-year rule of the late dictator.

Pimentel said the unfavorable ruling of the Swiss court on the case is a big slap on the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) which has apparently fallen short of its task of providing sufficient proof that the Disini bank deposits were illegally obtained.

Disini was accused of raking in an $18 million commission for brokering the Bataan nuclear power plant project which was awarded to Westinghouse Electric Corp. in 1975. Originally, the project was funded by a $300 million loan from the US Export-Import Bank, but the actual cost had ballooned to more than $2 billion. After its completion in 1985, the Aquino government decided to mothball the plant on the ground that it was defective and unsafe.

The unfrozen Disini funds were deposited in a credit Swiss account under the name of Disini's wife Paciencia Escolin and their children Herminio, Jr., Angel and Lea. Pacencia Escolin, a medical doctor, is a cousin and former personal physician of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Pimentel said the public deserves an explanation from the PCGG about the repercussions of the adverse Swiss court ruling on the ill-gotten wealth case against Disini pending with the Sandiganbayan.

"Does this mean that the government has a weak case against Disini, and therefore the case against him is in danger of being thrown out by the anti-graft court?" he asked.

Pimentel said that the nuclear power plant deal was one of the most onerous and corrupt transactions entered into by the Marcos government.

He said the Filipino people paid dearly for the nuclear plant anomaly in terms of huge interest and amortization payments in dollars to the Eximbank loans that should have been spent on productive essential projects and social services that should have benefited them.

"Therefore, it would be totally unacceptable and condemnable to the Filipino people if Mr. Disini will not only get off the hook, but also enjoy the fruits of the rotten nuclear plant deal as a result of the incompetence and bungling of the PCGG," Pimentel said.

The court setback in the efforts to recover the Disini bank deposits came in the wake of suspicion that the Marcoses have struck a secret deal with the Arroyo government on the assets of the late dictator.

The Marcoses are trying to recover mansions, lands, bank deposits and other assets sequestered by the PCGG in 1986.

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