Mercado says he got millions in minutes to fund BSP hotel requested by Binay
Video by Cathy Miranda
MANILA, Philippines—Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado claimed on Thursday that it only took him half an hour or 30 minutes to solicit P30 million from prominent businessmen in the city for the construction of a hotel in Mt. Makiling in Laguna as requested by then Makati City Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Mercado said Binay requested the construction of the hotel at the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) camp in Laguna for the 26th Asia-Pacific Regional Scouts Jamboree held from Dec. 28, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010. Binay has been the longtime president of the BSP.
“Ako po ang nautusan noon ng aming dating mayor, na ngayon ay Vice President na si Vice President Jejomar Binay. Ang sabi po n’ya sa akin ay ganito: ‘Pare, gusto ko naman ang Boy Scouts ay makapagmalaki. Dito sa Pilipinas gagawin ang Regional Jamboree, gusto kong sa Makiling may nakatayong hotel na tutuluyan ng mga adult scouts’…” he said during the ongoing investigation of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on the allegedly anomalous deals committed by the past and present officials of Makati City.
(I was ordered by former mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay. He told me, “I want the Boy Scouts to have something to be proud of. The Regional Jamboree will be held in the Philippines. I want to build a hotel in Makiling which adult scouts can use.)
“Masunurin po akong tao. Noong panahon pong ‘yun, ang Boy Scouts po ay walang pera para matayo ang gusali. Kasama ko ho si Mr. JR Pangilinan, ang aming national treasurer Enrique Lagdameo, kinapalan ko ang akigng mukha sa pagpapadala ng sulat ng panghihingi ng pera sa malalaking kompanyasa Makati.”
(I am an obedient person. During that time, the Boy Scouts didn’t have the money for the building’s construction. I was with Mr. JR Pangilinan and our national treasure Enrique Lagdameo when I sent solicitation letters to the big companies in Makati.)
“At ipagmamamalki ko po sa loob ng 30 minuto nang ipatawag ko po at hingan ng tulong ang mga prominenteng negosyante sa Makati, sila po ay tumugon na sa loob po ng 30 minuto nakalikom kami ng P30 milyong. At yun pong P30 milyon ang pinagsimulan kugng paano pong napatayo ang hotel ng Boy Scouts sa Makiling,” Mercado added.
(And I am proud that in a matter of 30 minutes, prominent businessmen responded to my request and I was able to collect P30 million. We used that money to have the Boy Scouts hotel in Makiling built.)
In October, 2014 , the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported about the hotel , which reportedly cost P150 million.
But in the same report, Mercado was quoted that the hotel cost only P60 million to P65 million, and not P150 million.
He reportedly said that the money spent for the construction of the hotel came from BSP funds, pooled from collections from Boy Scouts in all schools across the country and profits from the sale of Boy Scouts paraphernalia.
“The money came from legitimate funds,” the report quoted Mercado as saying.
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