MANILA (Mabuhay) – No less than the former vice-mayor of Makati has admitted that he got kickbacks from the construction of the P2.7 billion Makati City Hall 2.
He also claimed that former Makati Mayor and now Vice-President Jejomar Binay received kickbacks in the project.
Speaking before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing, former Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado said it was Binay who was signing all the documents for the construction project.
“Ako ho aaminin ko sa inyo, sa Phase 1 at Phase 2 nakinabang po ako,” he told senators during the hearing.
Asked if Binay also pocketed kickbacks, he said: “Alam po niyo, tayong mga pulitiko ay alam ang sagot dito. Kung ang vice-mayor nakinabang, siguro mas higit nakinabang ang mayor dito.”
“Imposibleng hindi nakinabang ang aking mayor. Yun po ang kalakaran.”
Mercado, who was Binay’s vice-mayor from 2007-2010, said he was surprised when the building’s construction cost skyrocketed to P2.7 billion.
He said the project was initially pegged at P1.7 billion during his term.
Mercado said it was not politics that led him to reveal details about the Binays as he has long been an ally and a family friend of the Binays.
He pointed out that he stood by Binay even when the then-mayor was placed under suspension during the Arroyo administration.
The former vice-mayor had a falling-out with the Binays after he decided to run for mayor in 2010 against Binay’s son, Junjun.
Asked about the falling-out, he said he decided to run for mayor because Binay always promised that he would turn over the reins of the city to him.
He claimed that an emissary told him that the Binays would support his candidacy if he did not remove any employees in Makati City Hall. He said he refused the request, which led to the withdrawal of support for his candidacy.
“Prinsipyo ang dahilan kaya kami nagkahiwalay,” he said.
Mercado, meanwhile, asked the Senate to give him time to be placed under the government witness protection program.
Unlike the previous Senate hearing, Mayor Junjun Binay was a no-show in the hearing. He cited personal reasons for his absence.
Instead, Binay’s sister, Makati City Rep. Mar-Len Abigail appeared in the hearing but only to talk to Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. (mns)