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I have papers proving Meralco was legally sold to gov’t - Enrile

Contrary to popular belief, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) was legally sold to the government in 1973, and was illegally returned to Lopezes in 1986, former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday.


Enrile said he has documents to prove that the Lopezes even appealed to then President Ferdinand Marcos to take over Meralco because they were facing imminent bankruptcy.


"These documents will vindicate Marcos. It is not true that the martial law government (forcibly) took over Meralco," Enrile said at the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo in Quezon City yesterday.


Among the documents, Enrile said, was a letter from the Lopez patriarch, the late Fernando Lopez who was vice president under the Marcos regime, asking the dictator to save his family from bankruptcy.


He said Lopez wrote two letters to Marcos conveying his offer to sell Meralco. The first letter was dated Feb. 19, 1973, while the second was written on March 20, 1973.


Enrile, who was defense minister during 14-year strong-armed rule of Marcos, recalled that Lopez’s son Geny privately met with him sometime in January 1973 at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila in Makati City, to discuss the offer.


Marcos subsequently designated Cesar Zalamea and his brother-in-law, Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez, to handle the negotiations with the Lopezes.


"I am placing the solution to the problem in your hand because you can save the people, I hope. Mr. President, you can spare some of your time from your duty to help us,"one of the letters stated.


Enrile, a key figure in the historic popular revolt in February 1986, said the return of Meralco to the Lopezes under the Corazon Aquino administration was "illegal and highly questionable." — With Romel Bagares

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