Trillanes urged to admit bullying of contractor

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should be man enough to admit that he bullied a contractor who wanted to testify in favor of the Binay family during the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new spokesman and Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday.

Remulla said Trillanes should be more forthcoming in answering Binay’s accusation on Wednesday that Trillanes bullied and cursed the representative of Hillmarcs Construction, the contractor for Makati City Hall Parking 2, during last Tuesday’s Senate hearing.

“Did he or did he not bully and curse the representative of Hillmarcs? Simple question, simple answer are what the people are looking for,” Remulla said.

Remulla also said that it was disappointing that Trillanes is now asking the Vice President to show proof that the bullying and cursing happened.

“When it’s the Vice President making statements, Senator Trillanes says show proof first. But when it’s their local political allies who are the Vice President’s detractors making baseless and malicious remarks in a Senate hearing, he does not demand proof and in fact coaches and guides them in their answers. This is a clear case of double standard,” Binay’s spokesman added.

Remulla said that Trillanes’ double standard was also evident when Trillanes failed to ask former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado how much he received in kickbacks from the Makati parking building project.

Mercado admitted at the hearing that he got kickbacks from the project during his term as vice mayor. Trillanes immediately zeroed in on Binay. But instead of making a direct statement, Mercado gave a speculative and evasive answer.

“There is clear double standard when you allow a person like the former vice mayor to get away with a tacit admission of violating the laws without so much as an admonition from Senator Trillanes. In contrast, auditors and specialists from the Commission on Audit, the contractor and Makati officials including Mayor Junjun Binay were bullied,” Remulla stressed.

Remulla also refuted Mercado’s claim that the Vice President was evading the issues and slammed Mercado’s insinuation that the Binays were to blame if anything bad would happen to him.

“It’s not the character of Vice President Binay to resort to ambush and injure other people,” Remulla said, adding that Binay has no plans to file charges against Mercado even if the former vice mayor’s allegations are disproved.

Binay’s spokesman also cited the case of Renato Bondal, who admitted that his claim that the birthday cakes being given to Makati’s senior citizens cost P1,000 each was just a “guess.”

“Why didn’t Senator Trillanes admonish this person, or charge him with perjury for lying under oath? These persons are flouting the law in front of the senators yet they are being treated with kid gloves,” Remulla noted.

“The way the hearing is being conducted and the demeanor and statements of Senators Trillanes and Alan Cayetano are those of a prosecutor, not an impartial legislator crafting laws,” he added.

Next Senate probe: Makati City Hall

Despite Remulla’s defense, the woes of the Vice President are far from over.

Once the Senate Blue Ribbon committee concludes its ongoing probe into the Makati City parking building, the investigation would move on to the main city hall building, which is also said to be overpriced.

The city hall building was included in the resolution filed by Trillanes, along with other related anomalies.

 Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon sub-committee tasked to investigate the parking building, said there would be one or two more hearings on the parking building before the probe moves to the Makati City hall building.

 The sub-committee will conduct an ocular inspection of the parking building on Monday, so that they could have a clearer picture of what the actual structure looks like.

 Pimentel said he would also like to get an accurate measurement of the total lot and floor area because he received two different figures during the hearings.

He would bring a property surveyor and geodetic engineer so they could make an immediate assessment of the structure.

Cayetano snubs Binay’s daughter

Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, one of the Vice President’s daughters, sat through the Senate hearing last Tuesday waiting for the opportunity to meet with Cayetano, but ended up being snubbed.

Rep. Binay told reporters that she wanted to talk to Cayetano to clear the air on the issue of the complaint that was filed recently against him regarding the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund and the presence of ghost employees in Taguig City.

Rep. Binay explained she wanted to discuss the matter with Cayetano after he mentioned her as being behind the complaint because one of the complainants was her classmate at the Ateneo Law School.

When Rep. Binay visited Cayetano’s office at the Senate, she was told that he was not around.

“He mentioned my name, so I needed to talk to him. I didn’t even take my lunch because I was waiting for him but he just avoided me,” Binay said in Filipino.

A teary-eyed Rep. Binay told reporters at the Senate that Cayetano’s wife Lani, the mayor of Taguig City, is her daughter’s godparent. She also recalled that Mayor Cayetano has been her friend since 2007 when they were still together at the House of Representatives as members of the minority bloc.

Rep. Binay said that she knew that Mayor Cayetano never answered her phone personally, so she decided to see Sen. Cayetano instead because she wanted to take up the issue face-to-face as friends.

Rep. Binay aired her disappointment over Sen. Cayetano’s failure to even acknowledge her presence at the Senate even though she was sure that he knew she was there.

She clarified that she has no intention of severing ties with the Cayetanos when she went to the Senate.

“I have nothing bad to say about Mayor Lani because I know she has a golden heart. But I cannot say the same about Senator Alan,” Rep. Binay said.

She described Sen. Cayetano as being similar to a tornado that destroys everything in his path towards attaining his goal of becoming president in 2016.

She also suspects that the Cayetanos’ attitude towards her could have something to do with the rumor that she is planning to run for mayor in Taguig City. She has maintained there is no truth to this but she believes that this could be the reason why the Cayetanos are that “rabid” towards her.

“I am a very private person and with limited friends and I opened my doors to them thinking they are good people. But I guess it is a lack of judgment on my part… Sad to say, I am sorry that I became friends with them,” Rep. Binay added.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, however, observed that “Vice President Binay and his children have resorted to histrionics” instead of answering the allegations. – With Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero












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