Ex-Makati exec: VP Binay benefited from 'overpriced' parking building

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A former Makati City official claimed on Tuesday that Vice President Jejomar Binay benefited from the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall II parking building.

Ernesto Mercado, Binay's former vice mayor from 2006 to 2010, admitted during the televised Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing that he benefited from the phase 1 and 2 of the project.

"Tayo namang mga politiko alam natin ang sagot doon e. Kung ang vice mayor po ay nakinabang, aba'y siguro higit na nakinabang po ang mayor dito," Mercado said at the televised Senate hearing.

"Kung ako ay nakinabang, imposibleng hindi nakinabang ang aking mayor," he added.

With the latest allegation, the Blue Ribbon Committee should now invite the Vice President to the hearings, according to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who called for the Senate investigation into the controversy.

"The vice mayor has directly mentioned the involvement of Vice President Jejomar Binay into the corruption and the anomaly that is the Makati carpark building," Trillanes said.

Binay and his son, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay, are facing a plunder complaint over the alleged overpriced building filed by lawyer Renato Bondal.

During the hearing, Mercado said he was an ally of the older Binay since 1986. Their relationship soured in 2010 after the Vice President did not fulfill his promise to support him as a candidate in the Makati mayoral race.

'Nancy made cakes for seniors'

The Vice President was not only the official implicated by Mercado as he also alleged that Binay's eldest child, Sen. Nancy Binay, also earned from the alleged overpriced birthday cakes given by the Makati City government to its senior citizens.

He said the neophyte senator used to manage the production of the cakes.

"E alam naman po ng lahat ng taga-Makati 'yon e. Siya naman po talaga ang gumagawa nun (cakes) noong araw na hindi pa siya senadora," Bondal said.

The senator had not joined the hearings while the Makati mayor did not attend Tuesday's hearing due to "personal reasons."

Meanwhile, a former Makati City official said Mercado has no credibility since he admitted receiving kickbacks from the construction of the alleged overpriced building.

Former city administrator Marjorie de Veyra said Mercado abused the trust and confidence given to him by the older Binay.

"While vice mayor, he was known to frequent casinos here and abroad, where he is considered a high-roller and given five-star treatment by casino operators. He is known to lose millions in cockfights," De Veyra was quoted as saying in an article released by the Makati City government.

"We wondered how he was able to afford such a high-living lifestyle but his admission of personally gaining from the Building 2 project gives us the answer," she added.

De Veyra said Mercado's statements are "self-serving" since he did not show evidence to back his allegations against the Vice President.

"He has been saying bad things about the Binays since 2010 when he ran and lost against Mayor Junjun Binay. But he has not given any proof because he does not have any," De Veyra said.











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