Friday, January 22, 2010


Summer season for me is usually a trip to historical monuments like Mt. Samat in Bataan, or my hometown of Gerona in Tarlac - or just a short walk to an inflatable pool in my backyard.

A few years ago, while spending a weekend in the town of Pilar, Bataan, I met a man who used to work for the mothballed plant in that province. He said that if it was indeed operated to generate electricity, the now white elephant could have somehow solved the power crisis then.

Well, that was then. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is one more sorry legacy of the Aquino regime, which relentlessly pursued the case against Westinghouse which, it claimed, bribed the late President Marcos into giving it the contract.

The Aquino people, retained by the Ramos administration pressed for the pursuit of the case. That government should have considered the compromise settlement offered by Westinghouse. The Ramos regime did not listen either to proposals to use the nuclear plant to alleviate the power shortage then.

In short, the Ramos administration adopted the Aquino administration's policy of revenge against the Marcoses in the Westinghouse case. The faces of all these people were red after a US court had ruled against the Philippines which spent millions of dollars to press the case. Only the US lawyers hired by the RP government were happy since they had raked in quite a hefty sum in legal fees.

Two former associates of Herminio Disini, who brokered the nuclear plant deal for Westinghouse denied that Disini acted as "front man" for Marcos, or that Disini gave Marcos part of the legal commissions which the government then described as bribe money.

However, the most absurd comment then from the government people on the defeat in the Westinghouse bribery case is the claim that some American jurors may have been bribed by Westinghouse. Preposterous.

The government then simply had a weak case. It could not prove that President Marcos had been bribed by Westinghouse. That's that. There was no need to put up a smokescreen to hide the failure on their part. Imagine, some officials then were even thinking of filing treason charges against Filipinos who testified that Marcos never received any bribes.

And by the way, who was that mystery party who convinced the Philippine government to hire certain American lawyers who were paid over a billion pesos in legal fees? The mystery party presumably received a vast fortune in referral fees.

In summing up, the government got burned in that case. Only the American lawyers, the mystery party who made the referral and an assortment of government lawyers who enjoyed going to the US to litigate the case were happy as a clam.

Blame the Aquino regime for this mess. It never wanted the amicable out-of-court settlement proposed by Westinghouse. Instead, it chose to press the case out of a vengeful hatred against the Marcoses.