Press Release
April 29, 2010


THE law governing the Philippine Stock Exchange may have to be reviewed and, if needed, to be amended to protect and insulate the agency from outside pressure.

In a press interview, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he had discovered a flaw in the operation of the stock exchange, which could be corrected only by amending the Securities Act.

The Senate President held a press conference, where he, along with former President Joseph Estrada, revealed to the public that Sen. Manny Villar exerted pressure on the members of the PSE board of directors. Enrile said that as a result of pressure, the stock exchange lifted the lock-up rule on Vista Land and Lifescapes (VLL), thus enabling Sen. Villar, who owns the firm, to sell his shares of stock in the bourse.

He said Sen. Villar, who was the sitting Senate President then, made P26 billion out of the transaction, but the investors lost their shirts.

Enrile said that with its present composition, the PSE is vulnerable to a Madoff-style manipulation.

The Senate President was referring to Bernard Lawrence Madoff, who defrauded thousands of investors in what Federal investigators described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history. A court appointed trustee calculated the actual losses to be $18 billion, although the victims themselves maintained the total amount was close to $65 billion.

Last year, the former stockbroker and non-executive chairman of NASDAQ was sentenced to 150 years in prison, without any possibility of parole.

Enrile said he is only making sure that the electorate knows the kind and character of the man who presents himself as a presidential bet in the coming May 10 elections. He added he does not want the country to have "a president that will use the immense powers of his office to his advantage."

He said he will file an ethics case against Sen. Villar in July, when the Senate resumes session. After all, he added, the unethical conduct was committed during his term as a senator. He also said the senator must answer for the damage he caused the stock exchange as an institution and the investors who lost their money as a result of his machinations.

According to Enrile, he is willing to face the consequences of his action. He said though that he will pursue the case against Villar, whether the latter becomes president or remains a senator.

"I am afraid for this country," Sen. Enrile said. "I am willing to go down, with my life if necessary, just to be able stop him. That's the way I am. When I start a fight, I go out hammer and tongs.

Sen. Enrile said he does not care if Sen. Noynoy Aquino's reaps the benefits from the expose.

"Kahit sino ang mapaburan dito (It does not matter whose political stock goes up)," Sen. Enrile said. "I am doing this for the Filipino people. I do not want a financial manipulator to become president of this country, who uses his position to influence the bourse and bend the rules to his wishes."

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