Tanenglian wants immunity vs Tan

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Mariano Tanenglian, the wealthy Filipino-Chinese accused of physical battery by two of his former housemaids, filed a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan urging it to direct the government to resolve his offer to turn government witness in the ill-gotten wealth case involving his estranged brother, tycoon Lucio Tan.

In an eight-page manifestation submitted before the anti-graft court’s 5th division, Tanenglian underscored the need for the speedy disposition of his “offer for cooperation” in as much as the government through the Office of the Solicitor General and Presidential Commission on Good Government had been directed by the court to wrap up its presentation of evidence.

At the same time, he urged the anti-graft court to re-open the trial for the additional presentation of evidence by the government for the purpose of receiving his testimony.

”Everybody had the opinion and belief that our client’s cooperation was necessary to fully establish the claims of the Republic…and therefore, would greatly help in the successful prosecution of the case and that time was of the essence as the Republic had already been directed to terminate its presentation of evidence…” Tanenglian, through his counsel, said in a letter to PCGG chairman Camilo Sabio dated Aug. 19.

However, Tanenglian’s offer to spill the beans on his brother was pre-conditioned on the grant of immunity, saying “he should be immune from any criminal suit that might possibly arise from his testimonies.”

”Such offer is conditioned on the grant of immunity because of the possibility that by virtue of such cooperation, he might incriminate himself and his manifestation of readiness and willingness to cooperate with the Republic subject only to the grant of corresponding immunity…” Tanenglian disclosed.

Last Aug, 24, Tanenglian sent a letter to the PCGG and reminded it of the meeting that transpired last July 13, which was also attended by OSG lawyers. During the meeting, the counsel of Tanenglian manifested his client’s interest to cooperate in exchange for civil and criminal immunity.

In consideration of the grant of such immunity, Tanenglian will be providing information relevant to the case make admissions in the appropriate pleading or submission of the existence, authenticity, and/or due execution of certain documents or exhibits presented and offered by the government, and make himself available as government witness.

”Essentially, the OSG and PCGG have already agreed in principle to grant the requested immunity but that PCGG would only wait for the formal opinion of the OSG on the matter but up to now it appears that said opinion has not yet been relayed to the PCGG,” Tanenglian said.

He said he is willing to cooperate as soon as immunity is granted.

The assets being contested are 60 percent of Tan’s nine companies, which the PCGG wants forfeited in favor of the state.

Nine companies are covered by PCGG’s claim — Fortune Tobacco Corp., Asia Brewery Inc., Allied Banking Corp., Foremost Farms, Himmel Industries Inc., Grandspan Development Corp., Silangan Holdings Inc., Dominium Realty and Construction Corp. and Shareholdings Inc.

The PCGG believes that these assets were part of former President Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth.