Buying mini-cabs at P230K/unit is overpriced

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2014 - 12:00am

Mr. Joey Salgado, spokesman for Vice-President Jejomar Binay wrote me a letter in response to our column where we mentioned that Atty. Rene Bondal appeared in the 888 News Weekly Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu City last Aug. 5 to literally spill the beans on VP Binay’s plunder case, which he says is politically-motivated. But since that letter is quite long, I will only put in excerpts of his letter.

Regarding the so-called overprice of the Makati City Hall and parking building, this is what Salgado said, “High rise building with unstable soil conditions will entail a more rigid and complicated base/structural preparations and requires higher quantity and quality of materials to be used. Structures with parking areas require different design as compared to common/regular building, which is subjected to heavier and moving loads. In addition, the building is designed to withstand earthquake with certain level of intensity,” the report said. Said COA, “Research and available data showed that the soil structure was found soft, hard strata at this area was reached from 13 meters to 15 meters elevation from the ground.”

All this is up to the Sandiganbayan to appreciate in Binay’s defense. That is easy enough for the Sandiganbayan to do, all they need is to check the nearest buildings around the New Makati City Hall so they can find out if this is true or not.

On the issue of the mini-cabs or multi-cab vehicles, which Atty. Bondal accused the Vice-President of overpricing at P230,000, this is what Joey Salgado had to say, “These multi-cabs, purchased by Makati at P230,000 each, are considered high-end models. By way of comparison, converted closed van models purchased by a provincial government in Luzon cost P245,000 each while converted passenger type models bought by a Metro Manila local government were priced at P230,000 each. These purchases passed COA scrutiny. If Bondal can point to a supplier of similar high-end multi-cabs priced at P85,000 as he claimed, I’m certain Makati would gladly buy units from this supplier.”

If you ask me…this exposé is perhaps the most damaging for VP Binay. All we need to do is ask all you multi-cab or mini-cab owners how much did you buy your vehicles from suppliers from Cebu and you will find out that no one paid their vehicles at that price even if they got the “high-end” model. It should only cost a little over a hundred thousand pesos. Yes, I dare say that P230,00 per unit is grossly overpriced.

But in fairness to Vice-Pres. Binay, he is not alone in this corruption. Almost all local government units (LGU), barangays and yes, senators and congressmen who used their PDAF have bought these multi-cabs or mini-cabs from their suppliers in Cebu. This is a no brainer because you can go to a dealership in Cebu City and get their prices at the showroom. So how come there is no investigation on the sale of these overpriced vehicles?

Go all over the country and you will see multi-cabs or mini-cabs with the names of their respective, governors, mayors or congressmen or senators emblazoned on each side of the vehicle. This is one corruption wherein the political elite proudly had their names featured on the sides like a running billboard for all to see and be reminded of the next elections.

Finally Salgado takes a potshot at Atty. Bondal, saying “Bondal is scheduled to go on a speaking tour of Iloilo and other key cities in the Visayas in the coming weeks. Based on the information we have received, his tour is being organized by groups and personalities identified with a national political personality. Mayor Jun Binay aptly framed Bondal’s presence in the Visayas, when he asked “How can a local politician, a perennial loser at that, suddenly find the resources and the boldness to go on a region-wide speaking tour?  There are obviously national-level backers behind him.”

So is there a demolition job vs VP Binay to expose his shenanigans to the public? I just got a copy of Resolution No. 826 sponsored by Sen. Trillanes “Directing the Committee on Accountability of Public Officials and Investigations of the Senate of the Philippines to investigate the alleged P 1.501 billion overpricing of the 11-storey New Makati City Hall II Parking building.” Now whether Sen. Trillanes can be linked to Atty. Bondal, I don’t know. But what is lacking here is the investigation on the overpricing of the mini-cabs.

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