Blue Ribbon sub-committee ends hearing on corruption allegations vs Binay
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - January 26, 2016 - 1:25am

MANILA, Philippines – After 25 hearings since Aug. 20, 2014, the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee on Tuesday wrapped up the probe on corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.

Sens. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV led the last hearing on Tuesday while Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile joined the inquiry for the first time.

Several resources and witnesses namely Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Michael Aguinaldo, Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, Erlinda Chong, Kim Tun Chong, Irene Chong,  Imee Chong, Kimsfer Chong, Irish Chong, Marguerite Lichnock and Gerardo Limlingan of  Meriras Realty Development Corp. / Millenium Food Chains Corp.;  Hirene Lopez,  Aida Alcantara and Bernadette Portallano of Omni Security Investigation; General Services and Chair/CEO of Greenergy Holdings Inc. Antonio “Tony” Tiu, FEU Institute of Law Mel Sta. Maria and Nancy Carvajal of the Philippine Daily inquirer were invited to attend the hearing. However, only Carvajal appeared to air her side.

Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia Jr. failed to serve subpoenas to several resource persons while Tiu and the Chong siblings earlier informed the Senate that they will not be attending the hearing.

On the other hand, former Makati City Mayor Ernesto Mercado, lawyer Renato Bondal, Mario Hechanova and COA representatives were present to act as witnesses.

Pimentel kicked off the hearing by recalling the partial subcommittee report they submitted last May 2015.

“The subcommittee’s proceedings were undertaken in aid of legislation," Pimentel said.

He also underscored that the Makati City Hall Parking Building 2 is clearly overpriced.

During the hearing, witness Mercado discussed the ghost employees of Makati City and Hacienda Binay while Bondal presented SALNs of Binay until 2014, which was later on questioned by Enrile and described as misleading. He also cited news reports and discussed the campaign advertisements of Binay.

“It's true Binay did a lot of things in Makati, but that is not because of his efforts. It's because Makati has a lot of money,” Bondal said countering the Binay camp’s claim that he accomplished several things for Makati City.

Carvajal, whose report was cited by Bondal, said her articles contained factual and accurate figures.

COA also requested to submit their special audit report on February 15 citing that they are still finalizing it as they are still organizing its annexes.

The hearing concluded without Binay present.

“Sa kabila ng mga nai-prisinta naming ebidensya dito, hindi pa rin umuupo si VP Binay,” Bondal said.

Trillanes said Binay was requested to attend to defend himself against the corruption allegations but he chose not to attend. he added that the evidence presented by Binay is only an affidavit of several pages.

“VP Binay was given a chance to defend himself before the Blue Ribbon Committee but he chose not to appear,” Trillanes said.

 

ACIRC AIDA ALCANTARA AND BERNADETTE PORTALLANO OF OMNI SECURITY INVESTIGATION BINAY BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE BONDAL CARVAJAL CHAIR MICHAEL AGUINALDO CHONG ERLINDA CHONG NBSP TRILLANES
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