MANILA (Mabuhay) — Sen. Nancy Binay expressed hope the Commission on Audit’s investigation of the P2.3-billion Makati parking building at the center of overpricing allegations would be fair since it was “public knowledge” that one of the COA commissioners was “out to destroy my family.”
Asked in an interview if she was referring to Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, Binay said, “It’s public knowledge she’s out to destroy my family.”
“I have no problem with a special audit. But I also have concerns when it comes to the main office of the COA. First of all, a commissioner appointed there is vengeful toward my family,” Binay said.
Before she was appointed COA commissioner, Mendoza had headed the audit team that uncovered alleged anomalies in the purchase of office furniture for the new Makati City Hall, which led to graft charges being filed against former Mayor Elenita Binay, the mother of Senator Binay and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s wife.
“I just hope that whoever will investigate my family will be fair,” the senator added.
COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan earlier said the special audit of the parking building would look into the splitting of the project into five phases, which was a “red flag,” and would also look into the unusually quick appropriation, bidding and award of a P400-million contract in one of the phases.
The special audit will be headed by a “multi-disciplinary” team that would consult with technical experts like quantity surveyors.
Vice President Binay and Makati Mayor Jejomary Erwin “Junjun” Binay are facing a plunder complaint for the alleged overprice in the cost of the P2.3-billion parking building, constructed from 2007 to 2012.
The Binays have denied the charges, explaining that the cost was high because the edifice was “world class” and a “green building” that needed an extra-strong foundation because it was next to the Pasig River.
Tan had told the senators the COA had not cleared the parking building, and that an initial report that showed no adverse findings against the project had still to be validated and evaluated.
Senator Binay said on Sunday, the special audit of the parking building should be treated like any other special investigation.
She noted that the COA had yet to come out with its report on 144 projects funded by the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, and on the disbursements of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund after 2010. She said the COA must release these soon.
“I hope that however fast the special audit will be, the probe of the DAP and the PDAF will move at the same pace,” she said.
She continued to object to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee probe, saying it was the Binays who were being prompted to show proof to dispute the allegations against them when the burden of proof lay with the ones who made the accusations.
She said charges had already been filed in the Office of the Ombudsman, so what else could the Blue Ribbon committee contribute to the matter? She said the alleged overprice of the parking building had not been established since even the COA had still to conduct its own probe.
“I hope the Senate will not be used for personal battles,” she added. (MNS)