Taguig gov't open to probe on 'overpriced' ambulances

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Taguig City government on Thursday said it is open to be investigated on the allegation that it had bought overpriced 18 rescue vehicles using the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Taguig City spokesman Darwin Icay also dared Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and his camp to show proof that the vehicles were overpriced and refurbished when bought.

“The City of Taguig made a smart investment in these new ambulances and emergency response vehicles – they will help. Contrary to Mayor Binay's claim, these vehicles were not refurbished. We’re making a lot of smart investments to build for the future, including free education, medicine for our seniors and families, and creating jobs,” Icay said.

Icay added that even the Commission on Audit (COA) did not question the purchase of 18 brand new mini-ambulances, which was funded by Senator Cayetano's priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

“We're proud of these efforts to offer free education, quality health care, and create jobs in Taguig - and in large part, this work was made possible by our efforts to reduce corruption. That’s one of our core values in Taguig -  pag bawal ang corrupt, bigay todo ang biyaya. We’ll address any questions from the Binay front group, and hope that they are honest with the Filipino people about their connections to Binay, and their agenda," Icay said.

Icay said the Taguig City government is open to face any probe regarding the purchase of the 18 emergency vehicles as he challenged Mayor Binay to go to the COA and check the records himself.

"The Binay camp is free to check the figures released by the COA in their reports. Instead, they distort these facts and figures to mislead the public and destroy the reputation of the Cayetanos," Icay said.

In an earlier statement, Mayor Binay dared Senator Antonio Trillanes, who sought the probe into the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2, to also look into reports that the Taguig City government had bought allegedly overpriced multi-cab vehicles worth half-a-million pesos using the PDAF of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, his party-mate in the Nacionalista Party.

Trillanes has called for a Senate investigation into the alleged overpricing of the construction of City Hall Building 2, the subject of a plunder complaint filed by Renato Bondal, losing mayoral candidate, against Mayor Binay and his father, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.

“The plunder complaint is obviously politically motivated because Bondal and his co-accusers did not include their partymates who were themselves authors of the appropriation ordinance. They also did not include the ordinance among the evidence submitted to the Ombudsman,” Binay said.

“If their real intention is to fight against overpricing, then they should also file cases against Taguig and Senator Cayetano because of media reports that Taguig bought multi-cabs worth half a million pesos,” Binay said.

Binay said that based on a report showing the utilization of Senator Cayetano’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) dated February 28, 2013, a total of P9 million was allotted for the purchase of 18 units of multi-cabs.  The same report showed actual expenses to be P8.96 million, which meant that each unit had cost P498,000.











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