International -- The Stars of Asia -- Policymakers
Perfecto Yasay (int'l edition)
Ex-Chairman -- Securities & Exchange Comm. -- Philippines
Just before stepping down as the Philippines' top market regulator in March, Perfecto Yasay made a choice. Rather than slip away quietly to take a sabbatical before resuming his law practice, he decided to bring an insidious scandal to worldwide attention. It involved the alleged stock-price fixing of a company controlled by a pal of President Joseph Estrada. The exchange's entire compliance team resigned to protest a presidential attempt to whitewash its investigation. Yasay tried to close the unpoliced exchange, but under presidential pressure, the markets stayed open. Nonetheless, Yasay became a public hero for standing up to Estrada, who threatened to charge him with "economic sabotage" but didn't follow through. "I'm committed to reform," declares Yasay, 53, who back in the 1980s worked on a New York radio show offering legal advice to Filipinos who fled the Marcos regime. Manila needs more regulators like him.