Mark Jimenez

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Mario Batacan Crespo, popularly known as Mark Jimenez (born 31 December 1946), is a Filipino businessman and former legislator. He was a close friend and adviser of Joseph Estrada who testified against the former president in the Jose Velarde account controversy.

Contents

Background

Jimenez was born in Paco, Manila to Ramon Salamat Crespo and Carmen Acosta Batacan, who owned and operated a large grocery store in Project 6, Quezon City. He was the fourth of the seven children. When he was just 11 months old, his younger sister was born and he was entrusted to an aunt who nursed him.

As a young boy, Jimenez would sneak canned goods from his parents' pantry and give these to his playmates who lived in slum areas near their neighborhood. He also served as an altar boy at the Paco parish church. This motivated him to enter the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary but he left at the age of 18. He studied at the Ateneo de Manila University but he dropped out in 1967 before earning a bachelor's degree.

Early career

After moving out of his parents' place, Jimenez ventured into several businesses: soft drinks distribution, heavy equipment selling, copra trading, and computer dealership. Jimenez (still known then as Mario Crespo) was also said to have been involved in the brokerage business, based on an estafa case filed by Teooro Pleno of Globe-Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation in 1983.

Jimenez allegedly falsified the signatures of two Bureau of Customs (BoC) officials in documents authorizing Citibank to collect from the importer Globe-MacKay more than P1 million as customs duties and taxes. Pleno said that Jimenez withdrew the entire amount but only paid half to BoC.

He filed a counter-affidavit saying that he was “not and has never been president of Atrium Airfreight” and insisted that he followed the agreed working arrangement. The case was soon dismissed but Jimenez had already immigrated to the United States; some people who knew him claimed that he eloped with Carol Castañeda, then a college student, who became his wife and mother of three of his 11 children. [1]

While in the U.S., he changed his name to “Mark Jimenez,” from St. Mark and Jimmy Jimenez, a friend who helped him get to the country. In 1984, he began Apex Magnetics in California and extended to Latin America. The company was engaged in wholesale purchase and discounted sale of out-of-brand diskettes. Four years later, he moved to Miami, Florida where he established a firm that exported computer parts to South America. It raked in an average annual revenues of $400 million and ranked 327th in the top 500 computer businesses in the U.S.

Return

In 1998, he returned to the Philippines to visit friends and relatives. He was soon introduced to the then newly elected President Joseph Estrada and later filled a position in Malacañang as a financial adviser.

In 2001, Jimenez sought and won the congressional seat of the 6th district of Manila against incumbent Pablo Ocampo. He authored two national bills, including the Anti-Money Laundering Law of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9160) and co-authored 21 more.

When the graft and corruption charges were leveled against Estrada in 2001, Jimenez was among those who testified. Reports held that Jimenez agreed to give his testimony when the Department of Justice (DOJ) allegedly threatened to file a plunder case against him. His move was, however, seen by some DOJ officials as a ploy to stay in the Philippines rather than face arrest in the U.S. [2]

A tax evasion case was filed against him by the U.S. government on 15 April 1999 and a petition for extradition was submitted to DOJ, which filed it to a Regional Trial Court (RTC). The Manila RTC Branch 35 granted Jimenez a temporary restraining order that prohibited DOJ from filing an extradition petition. Being an incumbent congressman, Jimenez has immunity from arrest as provided in the Constitution.

On 24 September 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower court may issue a warrant of arrest but allowed Jimenez to post bail of P1 million. Jimenez waived his rights and submitted himself to voluntary extradition. On 1 August 2003, U.S. District Court judge Patricia Seitz sentenced Jimenez to pay $1.2 million and to 27 months of imprisonment on charges of tax evasion and election financing offenses.

The sentence was reduced to 24 months and he was back in Manila on 18 December 2005.

2010 election bid

On 30 November 2009, Jimenez announced his bid for the 2010 elections as an independent presidential candidate. According to him, his motivation in running were “the government's helplessness during the onslaught of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng,” and the intention to “push for human rights and work to increase wages of teachers and other employees.” [2]

He filed his certificate of candidacy on 1 December but was excluded from the final list of presidential candidates by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). This was contested by Jimenez who said that the exclusion was “without sufficient basis” and that he met all the Constitutional requirements.

References

  1. ^ "http://www.pcij.org/imag/PublicEye/markedman.html Marked Man]", Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (accessed 26 February 2010).
  2. ^ "http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/11/30/09/mark-jimenez-seeking-presidency-too Mark Jimenez seeking presidency, too]", ABS-CBN News (accessed 26 February 2010).

Citation

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