Could PNoy end Lucio Tan’s and ilk’s corrupt practices?

By Frank Wenceslao
Lucio Tan

Readers of my "PINOY WEEKLY" column and its online version on convey a growing impatience that President Aquino’s war on graft and corruption is caught in an old cliché that the more he announces changes, the more things remain the same.

There’s also a growing feeling that members of the administration are afraid to innovate. For instance, a Cabinet member with only educational attainment to rely on and no administrative experience easily succumbs to the status quo to become highly dependent on career bureaucrats. The fear to innovate stems largely from fear of the media not to get credit for success or all the blame if they fail more so when media practitioners slant reporting whichever way favor their political or pecuniary interest.

The President should get out of the confines of his advisers whether they’re relatives, former classmates or close friends. Sad to say, his options for policy-making and solutions to problems are too tilted towards legal perspectives. Secretary Paquito Ochoa reportedly guards access to the President zealously when his experience is limited to legal practice and as former QC Hall administrative officer that his legal perspective dominates Malacañang thinking even with regards to purely economic and financial matters.

Sufficient resources should be devoted to fight the war on G&C with reforms and better experienced staffing from top to bottom not afraid to innovate with the latest international anticorruption strategies and tools, not by creating a new agency. Presidential advisers especially lawyers are apparently convinced fighting the war in the corrupt Philippine justice system, who ignore the UNCAC and other anticorruption international agreements.

My colleagues and I can’t understand, for instance, why after six months there’ve been no changes in the administration’s anti-G&C efforts as though GMA’s policies continue. No agency under the DOJ such as PCGG or NBI; the DOF such as BIR or BOC; the Bangko Sentral such as the Anti-Money Laundering Council, nor individual initiative has drawn on the anticorruption studies, research and experience of the Philippine Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc. (Pamusa). Nobody has tested if Pamusa can really work with, submit G&C evidence to the FBI and draw support of the USDOJ and other federal agencies to search and recover the stolen assets from the Filipino people hidden in the U.S. Pamusa has also been waiting for said agencies to utilize it in asking U.S. federal agencies or their foreign counterparts, for instance, in China required by the UNCAC’ international cooperation provisions (UNCAC-ICP), particularly these excerpts, to wit:

"Countries agreed to cooperate with one another in every aspect of the fight against corruption, including prevention, investigation, and the prosecution of offenders. Countries are bound by the Convention to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in gathering and transferring evidence for use in court, to extradite offenders. Countries are also required to undertake measures which will support the tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption."

For starters, Pamusa can sue Lucio Tan for corrupt practices in the U.S. according to our volunteer counsels. Lucio could be indicted for corporate and accounting scandals which could end the web of corruption he has woven around himself. We have evidence against Lucio to be like several CEOs of U.S. conglomerates such as Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, TYCO, etc. sentenced to jail for corporate crimes, or pay millions of dollars of fines like foreign companies, e.g. Deutsch Bank, Siemens AG, Union Bank of Switzerland, Daimler AG (maker of Mercedes Benz), etc. to stop U.S. criminal investigation and possible prosecution of top officers.

Pamusa’s volunteer lawyers agree Lucio is now in a ditch. The PCGG can charge him through Pamusa in the U.S. and/or China of corrupt practices emerging out of the application for the proposed Allied Bank-PNB merger in the U.S. Lucio’s counsel probably overlooked that the application would lead U.S. banking regulators to look deeper into the two banks’ ownership before approval is granted. One condition is for Allied to divest of controlling equity in a small San Francisco bank, Oceanic Bank.

After waiting for several months the buyer John K.C. Ng, father-in-law of Lucio’s son, Michael, withdrew his offer. Although he gave a different reason, Ng presumably withdrew not wanting to be embroiled in Allied using Oceanic to launder money earned by the Marcos’ companies Lucio usurped but claimed by PCGG now pending in the Sandiganbayan.

Lucio as Allied chairman, among his other management positions such as in PAL, could probably be indicted for at least four (4) serious U.S. crimes, namely: money laundering abovementioned; racketeering for investing illegal funds of Marcos-owned or controlled corporations; foreign corrupt practices for investing illegal funds of the same Marcos-owned or controlled corporations and, of course, conspiracy with others to violate U.S. laws.

Pamusa’s volunteer counsels believe that to really nail Lucio the administration shouldn’t spare efforts for the SC to allow Lucio’s brother, Mariano Tanenglian, to testify and confirm Marcos’ ownership of the companies claimed by the PCGG. And when Lucio falls, others would follow such as Imelda Marcos, her children and brother, Kokoy Romualdez whose $101 million personal net worth in 2010 according to Forbes Magazine could’ve come only from Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth allegedly shared with GMA for her protection against PCGG seizure. As another consequnce, PCGG would enhance its claim to recover Marcos’ equities in companies he showered with government favors now "owned" by Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Emilio Yap (who usurped Manila Bulletin), etc.

Moreoevr, I can say without fear of contradiction that Pamusa can recover the single-unit apartment of 2-bathroom at New York’s Trump Tower costing over $3.3 million acquired by Gen. Carlos Garcia allegedly for Gen. Angelo Reyes. Pamusa can seek the help of the USDOJ, Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and FBI to sue Gen. and Mrs. Garcia, their children and the Trump Tower to recover for the Philippine Government the apartment, the $100,000.00 in cash smuggled by Garcia’s children into the U.S., and their other illicit assets in America.

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