Witness: Binay used dummies to hide wealth
MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay allegedly used dummies to hide his wealth when he was still the mayor of Makati City, former city vice mayor Ernesto Mercado told a Senate hearing on Thursday.
Mercado submitted documents to the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall 2 parking building involving an 8,877-square meter lot in Makati City and ownership of Omni Security and Investigation formerly known as Omni Security Investigation and General Services.
Testifying before the committee, Mercado claimed that Binay used a certain Gerardo Limlingan and Erlinda Chong as fronts in the Makati lot, which was split between the local government and the military to house its personnel.
Mercado had already mentioned a certain Gerry Limlingan in his previous testimony in the committee and identified him as finance officer of the Vice President, who he said had received kickbacks for Binay.
But he said the property that went to the city government became a private property later under a company owned by Chong, who he said is a contributor of canned goods.
The lot, which he said now costs more than P1 billion, was eventually divided into four – one was sold to the Mormons while the three remained with Chong.
Asked by Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV how Chong would link to Binay, Mercado said: “Siya ho iyong nagiging front ni Mayor Jejomar Binay or Vice President Binay sa mga ganitong property na dapat ay malihis o maitago ang kanilang pangalan.”
“Actually, ang talaga hong kaibigang-kaibigan ni Vice President dyan yung kanyang asawa, si Mr. Vic Chong dahil yun po ang ka-badminton nya araw-araw, si Mr. Vic Chong,” he said.
Mercado said Erlinda Chong was also managing the canteens at Makati City Hall and in Ospital ng Makati.
“Yun din pong pangalan nila ang ginagamit sa transaction ng cake ni Senadora Nancy Binay kaya nandun ho talaga yung link…” the former vice mayor said.
He also noted that when Chong was selling a portion of the land , it was Limlingan who was talking to the Mormons.
Mercado claimed that the Vice President was also part owner of Omni Security.
Notably, he said, Limlingan was also the co-signatory of the former president of Omni in all its transactions with the Makati City government.
A former president of Omni, Jose Orillaza, who was present in the hearing, confirmed that Limlingan was indeed his cosignatory in the cheques of Omni though the latter was not an incorporator of Omni.
“Ang pagkakaalam ko po simula ng dumating po siya dun, sya po ang pinadala ng dating mayor ng Makati na si Jojo Binay para sumama sa aming corporation,” Orillaza said, responding to Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who was presiding over the session.
Asked by Trillanes if he would admit that he was used as a dummy of the Vice President, Limlingan answered yes.
Mercado said Limlingan was also the president JCB Foundation Incorporated. JBC, he said, stands for Jejomar C. Binay.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.