MANILA — The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it has awarded over P1 billion in damages in favor of the Republic of the Philippines against the late Herminio Disini for his role in brokering the $2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) project for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In a unanimous vote of 12-0 with 2 inhibitions, the high court directed payment of P1 billion in temperate damages and P1 million in exemplary damages.
Disini, who passed away in 2014 due to organ failure, was accused of using his close ties with Marcos to receive commissions from Westinghouse Electric Co. in exchange for the power plant project.
The Bataan power plant was completed in 1984 but never went operational because of safety issues.
"The Court held Disini liable for exerting undue influence in the awarding of the BNPP Project by taking advantage of his close association with former President Ferdinand Marcos," the SC said in a statement.
In 2012, the Sandiganbayan found Disini liable for receiving commissions of about $50 million from Westinghouse but absolved the former dictator and his wife, Imelda, for lack of evidence.
The SC also discarded as proof a photocopied document of Disini's commission.
"Nonetheless, the totality of the testimonial and documentary evidence of the government proved that Disini had unduly enriched himself at the expense of the people and the Repbulic," the high court said.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando penned the ruling. Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier both did not take part in the vote since they lawyered for the Presidential Commission on Good Government, a body tasked to recover the Marcos ill-gotten wealth, during their stint at the Office of Solicitor General.
— With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News