Philippines revives charges against Marcos ally over nuclear plant
MANILA (AFP) Jul 02, 2004
Government prosecutors said Friday they have revived graft charges against a crony of the late deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos over the construction of nuclear plant that was never put into operation.

Charges were filed in a special anti-graft court on Thursday, against businessman Herminio Disini for allegedly receiving 18 million dollars in bribes in exchange for using his influence with Marcos to win contracts for the mothballed plant in Bataan province, north of Manila.

Chief special prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio said he had documents proving that Disini received payments from US firms Burns and Roe and Westinghouse, to give them the contract for the nuclear plant, completed in 1984 at a cost of 2.3 billion dollars.

Villa Ignacio said that Disini made additional profits by seeing to it that companies owned by his family were sub-contracted to build the nuclear plant.

The anti-graft court has not yet set hearings on the case.

A government ombudsman previously dismissed cases against Disini but the Supreme Court in 2003 ruled the government had enough evidence to "support a criminal complaint for the crimes of corruption," against him.

Disini dropped out of sight after a popular revolt in 1986 ended Marcos's 20-year rule and sent the fallen dictator fleeing into exile in Hawaii where he died in 1989.

The nuclear plant was never put into operation and a team of international inspectors earlier declared it unsafe and inoperable as it was built near major earthquake fault lines and near the Pinatubo volcano which at the time was dormant.

The Philippines still pays 155,000 dollars a day in interest on the structure but cannot operate it as a nuclear plant as nuclear power has been banned under the country's constitution.