Binay: Makati even saved millions from controversial building
MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to overpriced allegations, Vice President Jejomar Binay said the local government of Makati had even saved P200 million from the construction of the Makati City Hall 2 building.
Binay was the mayor of the city when the construction of the building started in 2007.
“Ang estimate po dyan was P2.4 billion ngayon alam po ba nyo at the end of the day, kung magkano ang nagastos, P2.2 billion…” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
(That building was estimated to cost P2.4 billion, but did you know how much we spent on that? P2.2 billion only.)
This was contrary to his detractors’ allegation that the project amounted to P2.7 billion.
The allegedly grossly overpriced project was the subject of the plunder and graft charges filed against the Vice President and his son, Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay and other individuals.
The Vice President admitted that originally, the plan was to construct a parking building but the local government decided to maximize the space and added government offices.
“Kaya naman po lumabas sa kontrata ay parking building. Pero along the way… wala naman po kaming luxury of space, e sinabi ho naming e bukod sa building e ang mas magagawa e government offices,” he said.
(That is why in the contract, it appeared as a parking building. Along the way, we thought that we did not have the luxury of space, and so we decided to contract government offices.)
“So tapos na po ‘yung issue at pinalalaki na. Kaya naman itong si Bondal sabi n’ya the most expensive parking building…” Binay said, referring to lawyer Renato Bondal, one of the complainants in the case against them.
(We’re already over the issue, but they are still amplifying it. That’s why Bondal says this is the most expensive parking building.)
He said the project as well as the funding went a thorough study and procedures in accordance with the law.
There was also nothing wrong, he said, with the five phases it took for the project to be completed.
“Hindi naman bawal ‘yan in the first place, ‘yung phasing… (There’s nothing wrong with completing it in phases)” said the Vice President, responding to a reporter’s query.
He also insisted that he and his family have not received any kickbacks from any transactions in Makati, contrary to former city vice mayor Ernesto Mercado’s allegation that he had benefitted from it.
During Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the issue, Mercado admitted that he gained from the project and accused Binay of also benefitting from it.
Binay said he had long heard about the former local official allegedly receiving kickbacks but did not initiate an investigation in the absence of any evidence.
“Kaya po ako nalungkot at natuwa. Nalungkot ako na talaga po ng nagdidilihensya. Natuwa naman akong inamin nya,” he said.
(That’s why I am both sad and happy. I was saddened because he got kickbacks. But I was also happy because he admitted it.)
Asked if he would file charges against Mercado for his admission, the Vice President said he would just leave it up to the committee to make the necessary recommendation against Mercado.
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