PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — You win some; you lose some.
The government will finally get the P162.25-million proceeds of the sale of Manila Bulletin shares in the name of businessman- industrialist Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. that had been declared as ill-gotten wealth by the Sandiganbayan in 2002.
But at the same time, the government may have lost $4 million after an official of the Presidential Commission on Good Government said the account in a Swiss bank owned by Herminio Disini, alleged crony and golfing buddy of the late President Ferdinand Macos, was “already drained.”
“This is bad news because the account is pending before the Sandiganbayan,” he said.
In a seven-page pleading to look into the deposit filed by PCGG and the Office of the Solicitor General with the Sandiganbayan, it stated: “There is reliable information that the money deposited in Swiss accounts of Liliana and Herminio Angel Disini had already been withdrawn.”
On Aug. 18, 2006, the Swiss Federal Court lifted the two-decade freeze order against the Credit Suisse account after the lawyers of the Philippine government failed to secure a favorable final and executory verdict despite a Sandiganbayan resolution dated Dec. 29, 2006 placing the said Swiss account under its custody.
Swiss courts ordered the Disini account frozen in 1986 in connection with lawsuits filed by the Philippine government against him.
Two separate criminal cases remain pending at the Sandiganbayan against Disini. He was accused of raking in millions in illegal commissions for brokering the award of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant project for American firms Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Burns and Roe.
Government prosecutors said he received $17 million from Westinghouse and $1 million from Burns and Roe, while Energy Corporation and Engineering and Construction Company of Asia , supposedly owned by Disini and Marcos, received lucrative sub-contracts from Westinghouse for “mechanical and electrical construction” in the nuclear plant project.
This developed as the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division Associate Justice and Fourth Division Chairman Gregory Ong ordered Philtrust Bank to deliver to the government the proceeds from the sale of the 198,052.5 Bulletin shares under Philtrust Certificate of Time Deposit no. 136301.
Cojuangco’s shares were sold back to Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. on Feb. 21, 1986 for P19.39 million, but Philtrust Bank said the principal has earned P104.97 million in interest from 1986 to 2002 and another P37.89 million from 2002 to the present.
Philtrust Bank lawyers Tristan Tobes and Nemesio Domingo said the bank will turnover the manager’s checks to PCGG the moment the commission surrenders the original time deposit certificate.
That original certificate was submitted to the Supreme Court in 2002 by Manuel Montecillo, court-appointed executor of the estate of the late Swiss-Filipino industrialist Hans Menzi who was the former owner of Manila Bulletin.
Montecillo also turned over to the high tribunal the originals of CTD nos. 162828 and 162829 containing the principal amount of P153 million which is the subject of an ongoing court dispute between the government and the Estate of Hans Menzi and the Hans Menzi Holdings and Management Inc.