Ex-Makati vice-mayor claims Binay split payoffs into three

Posted on September 12, 2014

WHEN he was Makati mayor, Vice-President Jejomar S. Binay received payoffs from all city projects, which, in turn, were divided into three, his former vice-mayor told a Senate panel investigating a supposedly overpriced building on Thursday.

Mr. Binay’s alleged 13% kickback on every contract was divided between his son, current Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” S. Binay, who allegedly kept it for the family; a certain “Ebeng Baloloy” who reportedly held it for “personal” purposes; and a finance officer named Gerry Limlingan who allegedly managed the Vice-President’s campaign funds.

Former Makati City vice-mayor Ernesto S. Mercado also admitted that he delivered bags of money from kickbacks to Mr. Binay “two to three times a week.” The largest stash he handled reached P10 million, Mr. Mercado said during a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing.

“It depends on the collection, on the vouchers that were collected. Minimum is P1.5 million to P2 million. Sometimes, it reaches P10 million for one bag,” said Mr. Mercado, who claimed in an Aug. 26 hearing that Mr. Binay received more than a billion pesos from the alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall II parking building.

Mr. Mercado said he himself also received kickbacks from the construction of the parking building in Makati, estimated to be more than P2 billion.

Meanwhile, 911 Alarm, Inc. President and General Manager Marcial Lichauco, Jr. said he intended to submit a bid to supply rescue and emergency equipment but failed because he was trapped inside the elevator more than an hour before the bid deadline lapsed. His testimony corroborated the claims of Engr. Mario Hechanova during last week’s hearing.

According to Mr. Lichauco, he was stuck inside an elevator of the Makati City Hall for more than one hour, forcing him to submit a late bid that resulted in his disqualification.

“Elevator B got stuck. We were actually trapped for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The elevator was very full. It took a long time before the Makati Rescue came. They were not able to extract us until 1:55 p.m. after bringing the elevator back to the ground floor,” Mr. Lichauco told the Senate blue ribbon committee.

“We filed a motion for reconsideration and a motion questioning the eligibility of the winning bidder on May 17, 2007,” he said.

Meanwhile, for her part, former Makati City administrator Marjorie De Veyra said she has no knowledge about the incident.

In a statement, Vice-Presidential Spokesperson for Political Affairs Governor Jonvic Remulla said: “Like the former general services head Mario Hechanova, Mercado conveniently used the name of a dead person to make malicious and baseless allegations against the Vice-President and his family. They should stop using the name of a dead person, in the process hurting his family who are still grieving from his death a year ago.”

Mr. Remulla was referring to Engr. Nelson Morales who served as the city engineer when Mr. Binay was the city Mayor and considered as Mr. Binay’s “alter-ego”. In September 2012, Mr. Morales was killed in Legaspi, Albay where he was the provincial chairman for Mr. Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“As we have said before, such a statement not backed by evidence will not stand in a court of law but only in a kangaroo court where judgment has been rendered even before the hearing started,” Mr. Remulla added.

For her part, Senator Maria Lourdes “Nancy” S. Binay, daughter of the Vice-President, strongly denied the latest allegations made against her family.

“I deny in the strongest possible terms the latest allegations made against our name. Madali pong mag-imbento ng mga kwento na walang basehan,” the senator said in a press statement.

Bilang isang anak na lumalaki na nakikita ang paghihirap ng aking ama upang mapabuti ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan, nakakalungkot po ang mga ganitong pangyayari. Ngunit sama-sama pa rin kaming pamilya sa hamong ito. However hard this is, we remain focused in serving the people. Tiwala kami sa Diyos na lalabas ang katotohanan (As someone who witnessed what my father has gone through just to improve the well-being of our fellow Filipinos, it remains pitiful that things like this had to happen. However, as a family, we remain united to face this challenge. We trust in God that the truth will come out),” she added.

The Senate blue ribbon committee also agreed to invite the Vice-President to the next hearing scheduled on Sept. 25 to allow him to defend himself and his family.

The committee will also send a subpoena to his son current Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, Ebeng Baloloy and Gerry Limlingan.

The Vice-President and his son, present Makati City Mayor, are facing a plunder complaint filed by Renato L. Bondal. -- Ailyn D. Galura