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Plunder raps filed vs ex-Makati vice mayor

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A private citizen yesterday filed plunder charges against former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Louis Biraogo, a businessman and resident of Biñan, Laguna, accused Mercado of plunder for having received bribe money in the amount of P80 million for his participation in the construction of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the controversial Makati Parking Building when he was still vice mayor of the city.

The said building is a subject of an ongoing investigation in the Senate.

Mercado earlier testified before the Senate in the investigation of the Makati Parking Building on Aug. 26 and Sept. 11 last year.

Mercado categorically admitted he received bribe money during periodic intervals in the total amount of at least P80 million.

In his sworn complaint, Biraogo cited the transcript taken during the Senate hearings.

Biraogo said it was odd that everyone supposedly involved in the anomalous construction of the parking building, with the exception of Mercado, were facing criminal charges.

He said the exclusion of Mercado was undeserved special treatment.

Biraogo explained his filing criminal raps against Mercado was his advocacy.

“My advocacy is for justice and the rule of law to prevail in this country, and here is a situation where the wrongdoer has already admitted to committing the crime, and nobody seems to be interested enough to file charges against him. With his admission of wrongdoing, Mercado deserves to be imprisoned as a plunderer, and he must be made to return to the people the bribe money he admitted to have received.”

Biraogo is known for filing public interest cases in court and with the ombudsman. Last year, he filed criminal raps against Sen. Loren Legarda for the alleged failure of the senator to include certain properties in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.

BIRAOGO ERNESTO MERCADO LIABILITIES AND NET WORTH LOREN LEGARDA LOUIS BIRAOGO MAKATI CITY MAKATI PARKING BUILDING MERCADO OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN STATEMENT OF ASSETS
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