‘Binay remains focused on job amid inquiry’

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay remains focused on his job, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, his spokesman for political concerns, said yesterday in the face of the Senate inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the annex building of the Makati City Hall.

He said the vice president is busy with his work as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Center and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) concerns.

He said Binay led the inauguration of a housing community for residents of Cagayan de Oro City affected by Typhoon Sendong while members of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee were inspecting the building.

As co-chairman of the Alay Sa Kawal Foundation, Remulla said the vice president extended P30,000 in financial assistance to the families of soldiers mostly belonging to the 4th Infantry Division.

Last Sunday, Binay awarded cash benefits to 20 family-beneficiaries of soldiers killed in combat in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City.

He said the vice president is also expected to meet today an OFW who was allegedly raped in the Middle East.

Experts in guesswork

Remulla described as “hula-hula experts” or experts in guesswork the resource persons who made their assessment after a cursory inspection of the building.

“Without even seeing the as-built plans, blueprints, bill of materials or mechanical and electrical plans, these so-called experts made a conclusion which can only be described as guesswork or hula-hula,” he said.

“This is no different from the previous witnesses who admitted their claim of overpriced birthday cakes and kickbacks for the vice president was only a guess and mere speculation,” he added, referring to Renato Bondal and former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado.

“This is the best they can come up with – hula-hula witnesses who could very well be protégés of Madam Auring,” he said.

“They say the materials and construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2 were standard and ordinary. But the representative from the PCA (Philippine Contractors Association) said the air conditioning system in the lobby, for one, is not ordinary,” he added.

He said PCA executive director Lito Madrasto also noted that when the construction of Building 2 was started, prices of building materials were skyrocketing.

“Steel prices went up. Cement prices went up. Everything was going up,” Remulla quoted Madrasto.

“Why was the PCA representative not called by the committee? Senator (Antonio) Trillanes talked to him after the ocular and afterwards, he was nowhere in sight. We hope Trillanes did not intimidate the man,” he said.

Interior decorator

Trillanes can shift careers and become an interior decorator after 2016, United Nationalist Alliance secretary general and Navotas congressman Toby Tiangco said.

Tiangco was reacting to the senator’s statement after the ocular inspection of the annex building of the Makati City Hall that there is nothing extraordinary or world class about it.

“I never thought that Sen. Trillanes is an interior decorator. At least he has a job after 2016,” Tiangco said.

He said the senator’s statement is “subjective and unsubstantiated.”

“What the inspection proved is that Senator Trillanes has a misjudging eye for the quality of the materials used in the building’s construction,” Tiangco said.

Remulla added that what is important is that the materials used in Makati City Hall building were reflected in the bill of materials.










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