MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV believes that the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II is just the “tip of the iceberg,” saying he is eyeing a probe into how public funds were spent for the construction of other government buildings in the city.
Among his targets are the Ospital ng Makati and Makati Science High School.
“Nandoon iyan sa aking reso. Meron din ang OsMak, Makati Science High School, and all related anomalies. If it deals with corruption, circumvention of procurement laws, covered iyan,” he said.
“Mas malaki po ito (OsMak) sa Makati carpark na ito. Sa Makati Science High School, bilyon din ho. Lahat iyan nilalatag na natin, dahil lumalabas ganito ang modus operandi sa Makati.”
Trillanes said former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado knows a lot about the alleged anomalies in Makati. During the continuation of the Senate hearing on the parking building yesterday, Mercado admitted that he made money out of the P2.7 billion project.
Mercado claimed Vice President Jejomar Binay also received kickbacks while the latter was mayor of Makati.
The senator said he did not ask how Mercado made money from the project, saying there is a more appropriate venue for that.
“Meron siyang mga sinabi, maraming nalalaman si Mercado, kaso ayaw nating malihis sa isyu. Eventually lahat iyan ilalahad ni Mercado – magkano partihan – lahat kumpleto ang detalye niya,” he said.
“Hindi ito korte na ine-establish natin ang guilt. Ang ine-establish natin is kung paano naiikutan ang batas natin, ang procurement laws.”
United Nationalist Alliance secretary general Toby Tiangco said Trillanes’ line of questioning smacks of partiality, noting that the latter made no effort to ask how Mercado pocketed public funds.
In an interview on ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda, Tiangco said another proof that the Senate hearing was being used to attack the Binays is the failure of the senators to charge Atty. Renato Bondal with perjury for being inconsistent with his statements.
During last week’s hearing, Bondal, the complainant in the plunder case against Vice President Binay and his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, said the cakes being given to the city’s senior’s citizes cost P1,000 each.
However, Bondal said yesterday that the price tag was just a guess.
MERCADO UNDER WPP
Trillanes, meanwhile, said Mercado has yet to decide whether he would like to be placed under the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program.
“Nagsabi naman si Mercado na pag-iisipan niya kung ia-avail niya ang offer natin,” he said.
“Kapag na-accept siya as state witness, ma-aabswelto siya sa mga kaso.”
Vice President Binay, who is facing plunder for the alleged overpricing of the Makati parking building, said Mercado should not escape criminal liability especially after the latter admitted receiving kickbacks.
He also criticized some senators who offered to place the former vice-mayor in the government WPP.
While Trillanes already admitted that part of the reason he launched the probe is Binay’s presidential bid, he noted that the latter has yet to answer the allegation that the building was overpriced.
“May narinig ka bang reason kung bakit ito umabot ng P2.7 billion? Wala silang pwedeng isagot,” he said, claiming that the reasons provided by the Binays for the building’s price had all been shot down.(MNS)