Marcos financial adviser backs Imelda’s claim

By Solita Collas-Monsod
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: November 13, 2009

ROLANDO C. GAPUD HAD THIS TO SAY about the Ferdinand Marcos-Lucio Tan relationship:

“8. With particular reference, for example, to Mr. Lucio Tan, I know that Mr. Marcos and Mr. Lucio Tan had an understanding that Mr. Marcos owns 60% of Shareholdings, Inc., which owns shares of Fortrune Tobacco, Asia Beer Brewery, Allied Bank and Foremost Farms. I was asked sometime in 1985 to formalize this arrangement. I went to Mr. Lucio Tan for that purpose. He tried to bargain by reducing the equity of Mr. Marcos to 50%. I told him that I was merely carrying out the instruction of Mr. Marcos and that if he wanted to bargain, he should take up the matter directly with Mr. Marcos. As a matter of fact, Mr. Lucio Tan, apart from the 60% equity of Mr. Marcos, had been regularly paying through Security Bank, Sixty Million Pesos (P60 million) to One Hundred Million Pesos (P100 million) a year to Mr. Marcos in exchange for privileges and concessions Mr. Marcos had been giving him in relation to the businesses managed by Mr. Lucio Tan. As I said on p.7 of Annex “A,” Mr. Lucio Tan gained substantial concessions in specific taxes and stamp duties for his cigarette (Fortune Tobacco) and beer (Asia Brewery) operations. He belongs to the group that could get presidential decrees and letters of instruction from Mr. Marcos for their joint benefit. I understand that Mr. Tan asserted that he was the victim of extortion, and that he outwitted Mr. Marcos by issuing to Mr. Marcos his 60% equity in fake certificates of stock. This is not accurate. Mr. Marcos and Mr. Tan were in partnership, and they derived great material benefits from that relationship. As far as I know, Mr. Tan was not in a position to outwit and outmaneuver Mr. Marcos. I do not know that there is a crony or business associate of Mr. Marcos who could have done that.”

So there you have testimony that supports Imelda Marcos’ claim that Marcos owned 60 percent of the Lucio Tan enterprises—from the fellow who “formalized” the arrangement. Note that Gapud says Tan is a liar—well, no, he doesn’t. He says that what Tan said about his outwitting Marcos is “not accurate.” Which is the same thing.

But who is Rolando C. Gapud? Those under 45 years of age will most probably not know him, because he and his family fled the country (through the back door) over 25 years ago (in June 1986). But I do. He was one of Sixto K. Roxas’ fair-haired boys, rising to senior vice president and chief operating officer of Bancom (an investment bank) when it was in its heyday and Roxas was considered an economic and financial wizard. If memory serves, his professional rival for the post was Luis Villafuerte (yes, Virginia, the present congressman), but Gapud got it.

And he deserved it. He did his graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Alfred P. Sloan School of Management), earning a master’s of science in industrial management, during which he co-authored a paper entitled “A Measure of Information System Efficiency,” which one can still access from the MIT library.

But more to the point, while at Bancom he became the favorite financial consultant of Jose Yao Campos of Unilab, and it was Campos who introduced him to Ferdinand Marcos, who was similarly impressed (he now does work for Campos’ son, Joselito, although apparently he now is based in Hong Kong).

The paragraph quoted above is from Gapud’s statement, executed in Hong Kong in January 1987, in the presence of then PCGG Chair Jovito Salonga, as well as Gapud’s lawyer, Angel Cruz. It was introduced as evidence in the Sandiganbayan only when Catalino Generillo took over the PCGG case (over the objections of Tan’s lawyers), with Salonga testifying to its authenticity (his signature is also included).

In other words, Gapud cooperated willingly with the government. In his statement, he described himself as Marcos’ financial executor—although he was consulted now and again by Marcos, his main role was following Marcos’ orders, as relayed to him either directly by Marcos, or through Fe Gimenez. It is my understanding that Gapud’s knowledge about the Marcos’ ownership arrangements with Ramon Cojuangco and PLDT was crucial in the Philippine government’s success in recovering those shares.

Unfortunately, Gapud was never deposed in Civil Case 005 against Imelda Marcos, Lucio Tan, et al. Why not? Well, way back in the early 1990s, the PCGG asked to have him deposed, but was denied permission by the Sandiganbayan (because the defendants had as yet not filed all their answers). It went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which, in 2001, upheld the Sandiganbayan. The SC decision, penned by Justice Reynato Puno, with then Chief Justice Hilario Davide and Justices Bernardo Pardo and Consuelo Ynares Santiago concurring, states in its penultimate statement: “Finally, the Court notes that petitioner [PCGG] waited all these years for a ruling on this case instead of working for the rest of the defendants to be summoned and their answers to be filed. Petitioner can, as a matter of course, take Mr. Gapud’s deposition after the individual defendants have at least filed their answers.”

So, when all the defendants’ answers were in, did the PCGG take Gapud’s deposition? NO. It turned a deaf ear to Generillo’s urgent requests to have him deposed.

The present PCGG has done zilch, and then has the absolute gall to say it has a weak case!

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