Senator Alan Cayetano to VP Binay: Is there or isn’t there corruption?
Which is which?
A stumped Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday twitted the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay for its conflicting statements about Makati City’s allegedly overpriced parking building.
Where before Binay claimed no corruption attended any project in the city, his camp was now alleging that a “triumvirate of corruption” oversaw the bidding for the project, Cayetano said.
“Now they’re admitting corruption, but [are saying they] have nothing to do with it,” Cayetano said in a statement. “How can they now insist there’s no overprice when they admit there’s corruption, except [they’re not involved in it]?”
This was a complete departure from the Vice President’s claim that Makati has always had zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, he said.
Rigging the bidding
In last Thursday’s hearing on the parking building controversy, Mario Hechanova, former vice chair of the Makati government’s bids and awards committee (BAC), testified that the bidding for the construction of the P2.28-billion parking building was rigged to favor Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. on then Mayor Binay’s instructions.
Binay, through the late city engineer Nelson Morales, gave a P200,000 monthly allowance to Hechanova and other members of the BAC to ensure the bidding would be fixed, Hechanova said.
In response, Binay’s new spokesperson, Cavite Gov. Juanito Vicente Remulla, blamed Hechanova, former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and Morales for the rigging of biddings.
“It is known in Makati that the ex-vice mayor, city engineer and Mario Hechanova were rigging the bidding, especially for infrastructure,” Remulla said.
Binay, who has made no secret of his plan to run for the presidency in 2016, has dismissed the hearing as a forum to vilify him, as he had been topping early presidential opinion polls.
No need for an invitation
Meanwhile, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the parking building scandal, said Binay could always come to the hearing without invitation.
“Anytime, without invitation, if the Vice President wants to appear and speak, he’ll be accommodated. He need not wait for the invitation. Let’s all listen to what the Vice President has to say,” he said in a phone interview on Friday.
Should he decide to appear at the hearing next Thursday, Binay would be given the entire session to explain, Pimentel said.
“If the gallery is packed, we will clear the area. We will devote the hearing to [what he has to say]. If he walks in unannounced, we will accommodate him,” he said.
If Binay is not coming on his own, the subcommittee would hold another hearing after next Thursday’s hearing, and could issue a formal invitation for Binay only after that, Pimentel said.
Pimentel said his plan was to complete the testimonies of all resource persons and then devote an entire hearing to Binay’s testimony.
Binay has rejected a challenge from Cayetano to appear at the hearing, deferring to the Ombudsman to investigate the plunder charges against him over the alleged overpricing of the parking building.
The Vice President bristled at charges that he made money from the project, saying the senators were bent on pinning him down in the “politicized” inquiry.
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