Lacson to Palace: Why so Scared of Hanjin Mess Probe?

Malacañang’s slip may be showing when its legal eagles hoisted the scenario of an investor pullout over an alleged P400-million bribe offer involving Korean firm Hanjin, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday. 

Lacson also advised Hanjin to simply comply with the requirements in its Philippine projects, instead of pulling out all its investments because of the mess.

“A Senate investigation on corruption scares Malacañang, period,” he said, after senior Palace legal officials “warned” that the investigation may cause Hanjin – and possibly other prospective foreign investors – to pull out.

Earlier, Lacson said President Arroyo’s delayed action on an alleged P400-million bribe offer by Hanjin to Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental Mayor Paulino Emano smacked of Malacañang benefiting from the “arrangement.”

On the other hand, he noted that Korean firms like Hanjin normally follow procedures, unless they get the signal that they can violate laws so long as they pay their way out.

“Koreans are very proper and they follow laws, unless they are told that they can violate laws so long as they pay their way out. It is a shame because our own government encourages them to violate our own laws, and it gives special treatment to rich investors,” he said.

Lacson earlier said he plans to seek an investigation into the matter by integrating it with an ongoing probe into Hanjin’s construction of a condominium in Subic.

On the other hand, Lacson advised Hanjin to comply with requirements just like other companies willing to plunk money in the Philippines without having to use “shortcuts.”

“We may be turning off are investors who plunk in billions but violate our laws, but there are other investors who are willing to come in while showing respect for our laws,” he said.