BUSINESSMAN Lucio Tan took out newspaper advertisements over the weekend to announce that his younger brother, Mariano Tanenglian, was no longer connected with any of the Tan companies.
The public notice was apparently triggered by Tanenglian writing to President Aquino and the Presidential Commission on Good Government offering to testify in the government’s ill-gotten-wealth case against the taipan in exchange for immunity from suit, hoping the new administration is more receptive to the idea than its predecessor.
In identical letters sent to Malacañang, the PCGG, and the Office of the Solicitor General, Tanenglian’s lawyers pressed their client’s offer of cooperation in the government’s 20-year-old case against Tan.
The PCGG had rejected Tanenglian’s offer in October 2009, saying his request for immunity was disadvantageous to the government, and that he should testify with no conditions.
The commission also said it might be too late for Tan’s brother to testify because the anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, had already decided to stop hearing testimony from government witnesses in the case.
Before that, then Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera had advised the PCGG to turn down Tanenglian’s proposal.
Tanenglian, a respondent in the same case, has had a public falling out with his brother, who is the chairman of Philippine Airlines and Fortune Tobacco.
Over the weekend, the Lucio Tan Group of Companies took out advertisements in several national dailies saying Tanenglian was not a director or officer of any of their companies.
In a motion filed before the Sandiganbayan, Tanenglian’s lawyers urged the anti-graft court to allow their client to testify in hearings scheduled up to December.
They also said they were waiting to hear from the Office of the Solicitor General under the Aquino administration if it also supported Devanadera’s recommendation to reject Tanenglian’s proposal.
The lawyers urged the anti-graft court to stop what they described as a collusion among the PCGG, the Office of the Solicitor General, and Tan.