Mercado bares more properties, dummies allegedly linked to Binay
MANILA, Philippines—Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado bared six more properties in Makati City that were allegedly linked to Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family.
Testifying before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, Mercado showed a slide presentation of the six properties with the names of the dummies allegedly used by the Vice President.
The six were the following:
1. Unit 2801 of The Peak Condominium. The 150-square meter unit was under the name of certain Ariel Olivar, surveyor at the so called “Hacienda Binay” in Rosario town, Batangas province.
2. Unit 2801 of the Le Triomphe Condo. The unit owner was one Celso Santiago. Mercado said Santiago is the uncle of Binay’s wife and former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay.
3. Unit 906 at the Makati Sunrise Hotel now Berjaya Hotel. Celso Santiago was also the listed owner of the said unit, said the former vice mayor.
4. Unit 797 of The Perla Compania De Seguros Mansion Condotel. The registered owner was a certain Benjamin Zapanta, who was said to be linked with a contractor to various projects in Makati City.
5. Unit 2316 of The Prince Plaza Condotel, which was registered under the name of one Santos Panlilio, the alleged contractor of the Makati Pabahay Program and other projects.
6. Unit 5B of The Avignon Tower. Mercado said the alleged dummy used for the said property was a certain Aurora Panlilio, wife of Santos Panlilio.
To prove that Binay was using dummies to hide his properties, Mercado submitted to the subcommittee a copy of a sworn affidavit signed by Olivar. He said the affidavit was handed to him by somebody during the hearing.
In the one-page affidavit, which was later furnished to reporters, Olivar confirmed that he was the registered owner of Unit 2801 of the Peak Condominium located at Leviste Street, Makati.
“However, I am not the true and beneficial owner of the property—I am not the purchaser for value, nor have I at any time exercised any act of ownership over the property,” Olivar said.
“My name was registered as owner to conceal the identity of the true owner of the property. I know the true owner of the property to be Vice President Jejomar C. Binay,” he added.
The affidavit was signed this Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
“That’s the system of corruption in Makati, condo unit in exchange of tax and building permit…” Mercado said before his presentation.
He then detailed how Binay supposedly got all the said condo units.
Instead of paying taxes and enduring delays in the processing of building permits, Mercado said, property developers would rather give then Makati Mayor Binay one or two condo units to speed up the processing of their papers.
A developer applying for a building permit, he said, was often told that the evaluation of the building by a city engineer would take about three months but the work could speed up if the developer would give an overtime pay.
“Now who wouldn’t give an overtime pay in exchange for not waiting for three months?” Mercado asked.
When applying for an occupancy permit, on the other hand, a building would be assessed by the city accessors’ office based on the start of its payment for real property tax.
Instead of paying P40 million tax for a year, for instance, Mercado said a developer would rather give a condo or two worth P30 million.
“This was the system, that’s why it’s an open secret in Makati that Vice President Binay has a condo unit in each building during his term. But it’s not 100 percent,” he added.
Originally posted at 12:41 pm | Nov. 18, 2014
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