Mercado accused by Alphaland
SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2015 - 12:00am

Alphaland president Mario “Babes” Oreta disputed former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s charge that Vice-President Jejomar Binay received P188 million in kickbacks from the Joint Venture Project of the one hectare land at the corner of Ayala Ave. Extension and Malugay St. in Makati City.

The said property was donated by Sime Darby in 1976 with exclusive leaseholder rights to the property for 25 years (until 2001) and an option to renew the lease for another 25 years or until 2026.

The BSP questioned the leaseback agreement in court when Darby wanted to renew for another 25 years in 2001. The BSP filed a case before the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Unfortunately, the BSP lost its case. Binay went to Darby to negotiate for a settlement which resulted in a Joint Sale Agreement, with parties agreeing to a 60-40 sharing: 60% to BSP for the land and 40% to Sime Darby.

Oreta stated that it was Mercado who demanded a kickback and signed for the BSP. He said Alphaland would file a P100-million libel suit against him.

Mercado said the P600 million promised to the BSP was not yet given.

Oreta clarified that the P600-million investment of BSP, which was invested for a 15% share, is now worth P3 billion, contrary to Mercado’s claim that the BSP share entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Alphaland to develop the Ayala Avenue extension property was getting smaller.    

It certainly looks like Mercado’s charge has blown up in his face as Alphaland has denied paying or promising any kickbacks to Vice President Binay.

PAL crew blessed

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) ‘Shepherd One’ crew, who flew Pope Francis to Tacloban and back and flew him to Rome, recounted their encounters with the Pope during the flight, led by Captain Manuel Antonio Tamayo and Flight Purser Jeanette Perez.

Pope Francis took time to talk to each one of the 50 pilots, engineers and cabin crew.

Without exception, everyone recounted their experience with tears, and how the Pope gave his blessings to them and the pictures of their children.

Even PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista was teary eyed when he narrated his three encounters with Pope Francis. President Bautista gave the Pope a miniature PAL Airbus 340 plane.

PAL A320 division chief Roland Narciso, who piloted the Pope’s flight to Tacloban, said he had no fears about the incoming Typhoon Amang because the Pope was on board.

Captain Tamayo said the meeting with the Pope was the highlight of his life. He said he can now retire.

FA Rowena Clemente said merely seeing the Pope sitting across from her was a moment she will never forget.

FA Arys Obeso said meeting the Pope was a humbling experience, one that made him reflect on his own life.

FA Ana Alvarez, who served his drinks and gave him his towel during the flight, said Pope Francis is too charismatic to be intimidating. He is so human and accommodating.

Maria Criselda Rayos, PAL manager for in-flight food standards, said that Pope loved the chicken arroz caldo and dinuguan that was served during the flight to Rome.

Before Pope Francis came, some had sleepless nights. Some rehearsed short speeches, charming lines but never had the chance to deliver when the Pope stood before them in flesh. Even the most articulate of them was stunned by the presence of the pontiff.

Congratulations to PAL. Job well done.

Darlene clears Binay

Pag-IBIG president and chief operating officer (CEO) Darlene Berberabe cleared Vice President Binay of exerting pressure in her to award a contract to Omni Security Agency.

Berberabe said Omni was disqualified from getting a P193-million contract for security services. She explained that Omni only get a P1-million contract to provide her with three bodyguards.

Senator Antonio Trillanes has charged that Vice President Binay had favored certain contractors who dealt with Pag-IBIG.

Berberabe, a summa cum laude of the University of the Philippines (UP), has done a good job as president and CEO of Pag-IBIG for the last four and a half years.

NPA is on the offensive

New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have burned heavy equipment at Barangay Mabini, Surigao City.

NPAs also burned heavy equipment of a banana plantation in Bukidnon.

Two died, 4 wounded in a hand grenade explosion inside the Sta. Cruz Municipal Police Station in Davao del Sur.

Kim Hyang-koung, a Korean, was kidnapped in Lanao del Sur. Barangay residents said they have also rescued the victim’s security escort, identified as Police Officer 2 Roel Villardo of the Manticao, Misamis Oriental police.

Song Ki Eon, a mining company engineer, was also taken by gunmen in Saguiran, Lanao del Sur.

Tidbits

Vice President Binay would be the runaway winner in five-way, four-way and two-way fight scenarios in the 2016 presidential race, the latest survey of Laylo Research Strategies showed.

Binay also recorded the best vote commitment with 66 percent of his voters saying they will no longer change their minds, the same survey showed.

The five-cornered fight showed Binay taking the lead with 36 percent, Poe with 24 percent, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 16 percent, Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada with 12 percent, and Roxas placing last with 10 percent. Only two percent remained undecided.

Roxas also placed last in the four-way scenario, gaining one percent to 11 percent if Estrada backed out and Binay still grabbing the lead at 39 percent. Poe took the second slot at 26 percent and Santiago third at 17 percent. At least 7 percent of the respondents remained undecided.

 

ALPHALAND BINAY BSP MERCADO ORETA POPE POPE FRANCIS PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT BINAY
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