Asia

Erap raring to testify at Senate bribery probe

Deposed President Joseph Estrada is raring to go to the Senate on Tuesday to testify about an alleged bribery attempt by an Argentine firm in connection with a big hydroelectric plant rehabilitation project in Laguna.

Deposed President Joseph Estrada is raring to go to the Senate on Tuesday to testify about an alleged bribery attempt by an Argentine firm in connection with a big hydroelectric plant rehabilitation project in Laguna.

Sen. John Osmena said Estrada “has indicated (his willingness to testify) and Senator (Luisa) Estrada has also told me that (her husband) is anxious to come.”

“I don’t foresee any problems,” Osmena said, underscoring that “there are no obstacles to Estrada’s coming (to the Senate) because apparently everybody has agreed that he should come.”

Estrada is expected to testify on an alleged attempt by Industrias Metallurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima (Impsa) to bribe him with $14 million to sign the build-rehabilitate-operate-transfer contract for the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan hydroelectric power plant.

The Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises, which Osmena chairs, is conducting an inquiry into the Impsa deal and will resume hearings on Tuesday morning with Estrada as its star witness.

The Senate probe is also looking into allegations made by opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson that Justice Secretary Hernando Perez had received a $2-million bribe to endorse the Impsa contract to President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Ms Macapagal signed the Impsa deal on Jan. 24, 2001, a few days after she took over from Estrada on Jan. 20.

Early in February, Perez allegedly went to Hong Kong where the $2 million payoff was reported to have been made.

According to Lacson, there was $12 million more in payoffs that were made by Impsa to other government officials.

Sandiganbayan Sheriff Ed Urieta said yesterday his office has made the necessary arrangements for Estrada’s trip to the Senate under police escort on Tuesday.

Estrada will be brought out of the VMMC at around 9 a.m. and will be escorted back to detention after the hearing, he said.

Should Estrada’s appearance be required at another hearing, the Philippine National Police should again notify the court, Urieta said. With Volt Contreras

RAW

Rocky nazareno, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 13, 2002

Categories: Asia, Odious Debts, Philippines

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