Senate to probe ‘overpriced’ Makati parking building

Mike Frialde, Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate Blue Ribbon committee is set to investigate the alleged overpriced parking building constructed by the Makati City government.

Senate Resolution 826, filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV calling for a probe into the construction of the Makati city hall parking building, was referred to the Blue Ribbon committee during yesterday’s plenary session.

Blue Ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said a sub-committee headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III will handle the inquiry.

Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. said the city government is ready to face the Senate inquiry.

“The Commission on Audit has cleared the project of overpricing allegations in an intensive audit in February. The findings underscore our position from the start that these allegations by our political opponents do not have factual and legal basis. They were made as part of an organized demolition scheme against my father, Vice President Jejomar Binay,” he said.

Binay said their accuser, Renato Bondal, has started to go on a tour of key cities in the Visayas, including Cebu and Iloilo, “to spread lies against the Vice President.”

He added that they expect more allegations in the coming weeks as their detractors will file complaints on other programs and projects of the city government.

Right to information

In his resolution, Trillanes said the “Filipino people have the right to information especially on matters involving alleged graft, corruption, and plunder of high officials and at all levels of government.”

The investigation of the Senate comes even after the resident auditor of Makati City declared that there was no overpricing in the construction of the building.

In his resolution, Trillanes said the Makati City government actually spent P2.4 billion for a building that should have cost only P798.2 million, which means it is overpriced by P1.6 billion.

He said plunder and graft charges have been filed against the Vice President, his son and 23 others for the allegedly “unconscionable overpricing” of the building.

Trillanes, in his resolution, noted that the building contract was split into five, all won by a single contractor. He said this violates the government procurement law.

Trillanes also called for an investigation into persistent reports on the alleged misuse of local government funds for programs to boost the national campaign of the Vice President, for hosting visiting local government executives; a purported P230 million infomercial campaign which started in 2009 using Makati City funds; bogus projects and ghost employees; and allegedly blatant and brazen overpricing and bid rigging.

He said that such alleged anomalies constitute blatant misuse if not grave abuse and misappropriation of public funds under the leaderships of the elder Binay and his son.

Sen. Nancy Binay lamented that the Senate is being used by certain politicians running for higher office in 2016 to hit her father, who is currently the frontrunner among the aspirants for the presidency, based on surveys.

Binay said she will most likely inhibit from the hearing although she said that her younger brother would be able to defend the construction of the building.


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