Accuser owns unit – Binay camp

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, and not Vice President Jejomar Binay, is the owner of a unit at The Peak Tower condominium, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday.

Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said the unit was where Mercado and his live-in partner Racquel Ambrosio lived, and the site of a fatal shooting in which Mercado was considered by police as the prime suspect.

Ambrosio – daughter of the late comedian Babalu – died from a gunshot to the stomach on April 24, 2002.

“The gun used in the shooting was registered to Mercado. He surrendered the gun a day after the incident and even admitted to cleaning the crime scene. The couple had an altercation before the incident,” Remulla said.

Mercado said Ariel Olivar, a private purveyor, will inform the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that he is a mere dummy of Binay for a 105-square meter unit at The Peak Tower.

Remulla challenged Olivar to divulge all properties under his name. He said Olivar is a known dummy of Mercado.

Olivar was supposedly among the passengers in the helicopter that took aerial photos of the 350-hectare property allegedly owned by Binay in Rosario, Batangas.

“How can a supposed dummy of the Vice President be on the same manifest of the chartered helicopter used to take aerial photos and videos of the Sunchamp property on Oct. 2?” Remulla said, referring to the Rosario property.

Businessman Antonio Tiu has claimed ownership of the farm and denied being a dummy of Binay.

“It is only too clear that Mercado’s agenda is to fool the public and cover up his ownership of many undeclared properties,” he said.

“This is also yet another one of Mercado’s lies,” he said.

Remulla said the ocular inspection of the property, owned by Tiu’s company Sunchamp, revealed that Mercado’s claim of an air-conditioned piggery was nothing but a hoax.


‘What’s the purpose?’

Meanwhile, Binay, who went to Cebu yesterday, told reporters that he has no plans of attending any Senate hearing on his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

“If you know that you have been prejudged, if you know that they are just going to humiliate or threaten you, what else is the use of attending the hearing?” Binay asked.

He said that if he will appear before the members of the Senate, he will not be treated as a resource speaker but as an accused.

Complete report sought

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday criticized the Commission on Audit (COA) for not making available on its website its complete report for Taguig City on the billion-peso releases from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

UNA interim president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco asked the COA why Taguig City does not have any complete audit report unlike other local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila.

“What’s happening? The year is about to end but the audit report has yet to be uploaded,” Tiangco said. “Is Taguig City hiding something from the public?”

He said the last audit report on LGUs in Metro Manila was last Oct. 1. Reports on other cities were posted last month.

The UNA is headed by Binay, who is being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee on alleged overpriced projects when he was still mayor of Makati City.

Among those spearheading the probe is Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is from Taguig City where his wife, Lani, is mayor.

Tiangco said COA’s audit reports “only sow confusion among the people over the varying presentation of its audits for the PDAF for the years 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2013.”

“I am confused why there are two different presentations on the PDAF audit findings for the years 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012. Is COA trying to confuse the people with these different presentations?” he said.

For purposes of common reference, Tiangco said COA should have followed the same presentation it did for the PDAF spending from 2007 to 2009 audit and the 2010 to 2012 audit. – With Paolo Romero, Jean Marvette Demecillo/Freeman











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