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U.S., Manila to Share Information on A-Plant

From a Times Staff Writer

The United States and the Philippines agreed Wednesday to share information on investigations of a disputed nuclear power plant here and other cases involving the former Marcos regime and American companies.

Jovito R. Salonga, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, said the agreement was patterned after the U.S.-Japanese arrangement set up during the Lockheed bribery scandal in Japan in 1976.

It was signed by Salonga and Victoria Toensing, a U.S. deputy assistant attorney general. “The agreement reflects our two countries’ shared respect for the rule of law,” Toensing said, adding that beyond shared information, “it contains safeguards to protect the legal rights.”

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said it was the first formal agreement between Washington and the government of President Corazon Aquino, who succeeded Ferdinand E. Marcos last February in a popular uprising.

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Salonga said no information has yet been exchanged under the agreement.

The document specifically mentions the investigation of a contract between Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the Marcos government to build the Philippines’ first nuclear power plant. The work has been completed, but the plant has not gone into operation.

The Aquino government is weighing a decision to abandon it and challenge the Westinghouse contract in court. Several Cabinet members have charged that the contract was marked by fraud, alleging that illegal payoffs were made to Marcos or his political allies.

Toensing said the Justice Department is investigating the power plant deal but she would not discuss the investigation.

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