(January 15, 2001)
I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not really sure about how credible Espiritu’s testimony really is LEGALLY.
But as far as I’m concerned, I believe Espiritu. It answers a lot of questions, like for example, how come, that despite the fact that for the first time in the history of the Philippine Stock Market, the whole market was on the brink of collapse, and yet Erap still went initially to side with his friend Dante Tan?
‘Kung hindi naagapan, talagang babagsak ang stock market natin nuon (Had it not been prevented immediately, our stock market would’ve collapsed)’.
It seemed that there was a lot of resistance in implicating Tan to the scandal, there were a lot of charges of pressures coming directly from Malacanang to the key players in the investigation ranging from Yasay, Yulo, Almadro. Of course, who can forget that famous “may lightning strike you” remark from “The Man” to Yasay on TV? Also, Erap admitted then that he was still conferring with Dante Tan despite the fact that Tan-tarado was already deeply involved in the scandal (“… sinabi sa akin in Dante Tan (Dante Tan told me) …”). Have anybody noticed why it took such a long time before anybody got to charge Dante Tan?
If you think about it, it was the beginning of the end for Erap. It was the first highly visible scandal of the Erap administration involving the business community. Imagine:
A company listed in the stock market saw it’s shares rise up thru stock manipulation, then go down like a rock leaving a lot of people bankcrupt and nearly causing the whole stock market to collapse. The same company happened to be owned by an acknowleged close friend and campaign contributor of Erap. Now, instead of distancing himself from his friend so an impartial investigation could be done after such a damaging incident to the economy, he instead publicly showed he was sticking by his friend.
The whole incident sent two distinct messages to the business community :
a. That Erap’s friends seemed to have lost the fear of reprisals and would thus do anything, I mean anything without any scruples whatsoever just to make a quick buck.
b. That Erap himself will defend and stick by his friend/s no matter what wrong they have done or how damaging their acts have been to the country.
If we insist in letting him get away with this, I’m sure down the road it will only embolden him and his friends even more. We’ll end up with a business environment which rewards a individual not by his/her own merit, but how close he/she is to Erap or his friends. In other words, the country will be ruined …..