SC: Disini estate to pay P100 million damages for BNPP

Dapne Galvez - The Philippine Star
SC: Disini estate to pay P100 million damages for BNPP
This undated file photo shows the mothballed nuclear power plant in Bataan which was completed in 1984.
Philstar.com / File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed with finality its decision ordering the estate of late businessman Herminio Disini to pay the government damages for the US $2.3 billion mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

However, instead of P1 billion, the SC lowered to P100 million the temperate damages to be paid by Disini’s estate, which is about 3.5 percent of the total money being claimed by the government, saying the latter amount is “more commensurate.”

In a 12-page resolution promulgated on Jan. 12, the SC’s First Division denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by the government seeking to compel Disini to pay US $50.5 million as ordered by the Sandiganbayan.

It said the issues raised in the motion have already been considered and passed upon and the government “failed to adduce any substantial argument to warrant the reconsideration sought.”

However, it reconsidered its Oct. 28, 2021 decision regarding the amount of damages it imposed, citing uncertainty in the amount that Disini received as commission for brokering the deal in the awarding of the NBPP to Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

In its 2021 decision, the SC directed Disini to pay the government temperate damages in the amount of P1 billion and exemplary damages in the amount of P1 billion with a legal interest of six percent per year from the finality of the decision.

However, the High Court said that the amount must be modified as it is “excessive and out of proportion, and must therefore be reduced.”

The High Court noted that it was then President Corazon Aquino, by virtue of Executive Order No. 55, series of 1986, who decided not to put the power plant in operation for reasons of safety and economy.

The SC also reiterated its findings clearing then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his wife Imelda Marcos of any illegal acts in connection with Disini’s commission.

In 2012, the Sandiganbayan found Disini liable for receiving commissions of about US$50 million from Westinghouse, but absolved former president Marcos and Mrs. Marcos for lack of evidence.

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