Nancy Binay: Is Mercado using LP money for casino spree?
Senator Nancy Binay on Monday questioned the gambling activities of former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado which she said might have been funded by the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
In an interview with reporters at the Royce Hotel and Casino in Clark, Pampanga, Binay said that she suspected Mercado of gambling with money paid by the LP to smear the reputation of her father Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“You remember ‘Oplan Nognog,’ ang aim nila is to discredit the VP, so hindi malayo kasi saan naman kukuha ng pangsugal si Mercado? We’ve been getting reports na lagi siyang nagsusugal pero yung nangyari nung Sabado is a clear evidence na parati pa rin sya nagka-casino,” Binay said.
On Monday, a yellow-clad Mercado was spotted at the campaign sortie of LP bet Mar Roxas at the coliseum in Makati, a known stronghold of the Binay clan.
Sought for her reaction, the lady senator said Mercado could be rubbing elbows with the LP to replenish his gambling funds.
“He needs to be replenished. Baka kaya nasa Makati Coliseum coliseum kasi kailangang magpa-replenish. Di ba natalo sya noong Sabado? Kaya magpakitang gilas muna siya doon,” Binay said.
Binay made the statement after she caught Mercado on Saturday coming out of the Royce Hotel and Casino flanked by his security aide from the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
The Inquirer reported that Mercado lost up to P300,000 in one casino alone.
A Binay ally former Candaba mayor Jerry Pelayo also saw Mercado coming out of the Widus Hotel and Casino after gambling in Royce.
Mercado, then Makati vice mayor, turned his back against the Binays after a falling-out with the vice president when the latter chose his son Junjun to run in his stead in 2010.
Binay questioned how Mercado was able to gamble when the latter even broke down in tears over his financial woes since he turned state witness against the Binays over allegations of kickbacks from various infrastructure projects since the vice president was Makati mayor.
Mercado also testified in a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee panel which recommended the filing of plunder charges against the Binays.
“Remember that hearing, mangiyak-ngiyak pa siya nagsabi dun sa Senate na yung mga nasa WPP, kawawa naman tulad daw nya na walang pinagkakakitaan na dahil wala ng hanap buhay dahil under nga dun sa WPP. Tapos maririnig mo na not once but twice pala sya nagcasino on that day,” Binay said.
The senator said Mercado’s gambling spree while under government protection may have been funded by the administration party, especially because his daughter is running under LP.
“Saan siya kumukuha ng pangsugal nya nung nahuli syang nagsasabong? Saan niya kinuha ang pangsabong nagcacasino siya?Hindi maliit yung sinusugal nya na pera,” Binay said.
“Yun ang dapat tanungin tapos yung anak niya, tumatakbo din ngayon sa Makati mayor under Liberal Party. So ang pondo ba na pangcasino galing sa LP, since yung anak nya ay tumatakbo under LP?” she added.
Mercado’s daughter Karla Mercado is running as vice mayor of Makati with Makati mayor Kid Peña, who was earlier vice mayor until he replaced Vice President Binay’s son Junjun when the latter was dismissed by the Ombudsman over allegations of rigging the purportedly overpriced Makati car park building.
Mercado was caught casino-hopping on the eve of the campaign sortie in Pampanga of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance.
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