THE PHILIPPINES: Tales from Disiniland

How to succeed in business if you know the right people

Two hours' drive west of Manila in Bataan province, a sprawling 620-mega-watt nuclear power generator is rising on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Its $1.1 billion price tag makes it the most costly single venture in Philippine history. It also represents a record-breaking financial windfall for the country's champion wheeler-dealer, Herminio Disini, 41. His total commissions from the project could top $40 million.

What makes Disini's services so valued? It might be his very close friendship with President Ferdinand Marcos, a connection...

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