Scandal Hits Philippine Stock Market - Corruption as Usual in PI

MANILA, March 9,2000 (AFP) - Philippine shares fell further Thursday as the government mulled sanctions against the securities chief who tried to shut down the exchange amid a politically explosive insider trading scandal.

"We cannot expect them (foreign investors) to come back in full force until all of the major reforms they are asking for are put into place," said Alejandro Yu of R.S. Lim and Co.

The main action moved off the trading floor Thursday as President Joseph Estrada's government prepared to vent its wrath on Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Perfecto Yasay. Yasay's failed attempt to cancel Wednesday's session on the bourse spooked foreign investors and forced the government to intervene. Four other SEC commissioners were later convinced to set aside Yasay's suspension order, asserting that that it was "illegal" because the entire commission leadership was not consulted.

Yasay said he was acting in the public interest when he ordered the suspension after the compliance and surveillance unit of the exchange resigned on Tuesday, leaving investors without any protection from securities fraud.

The fraud sleuths claimed their superiors plotted to cover up the involvement of certain brokerage houses in the alleged manipulation of the stock price of a gaming firm controlled by one of Estrada's friends.

Although the government insisted the market stayed open for business, investors have been fleeing what is now the worst performing equities market in the region. The key index is more than 23 percent down from its end-1999 level. Yasay said Thursday that he had asked his lawyers to study "whether it will be in the public interest for me to withdraw my resignation in the face of what the president is blatantly doing."

His tenure, which ends in 2004, is protected by the constitution. He had previously announced a retirement date of March 25. Yasay accused the government of "violating the law" by interfering in the regulatory functions of the SEC. Finance Secretary Jose Pardo rejected the allegation. "I don't think there was intervention. I was thinking of the bigger interest," he said.

Response post on asfo (NOT MINE!)
"Estrada does what Philippine presidents have done since 1948...Not long ago, while lurking on Soc. C. Philippines, someone was commenting on Erap's weight problem. Another asked "How much should Erap weigh?" The answer provided was "About three pounds, including the urn!" He is and has been for a long long time a heavy drinker, womanizer and whatever else is against the commandments and possibly the law. He "takes care of his friends." But Filipinos are sort of like sheep. Pay them l00 pisos and they vote as "instructed." Would you believe Imee Marcos as Congresswoman Marcos from Illocos province. Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Senator from Illocos province, Congresswoman Imelda Marcos from Leyte province. Its TRUE! They have been "dipped", declared CLEAN and now can resume their MILKING of the country, just like DADDY. What can you you expect from a country who's Catholic Cardinal is named SIN. I just love it!"

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