Binay spokesman blasts Trillanes' 'wild conclusions'
MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Senate committee investigating the allegedly overpriced Makati office and parking building will “ultimately” recommend plunder charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Trillanes said, “ultimately, we will have to recommend plunder [charges]. This is not anymore an issue of overpricing, but corruption as well.”
He dismissed allegations that the testimonies so far are based on hearsay.
“Everyone’s playing lawyer nowadays. This is the point: the eyewitness’ account has more weight. This is also the reason why we gave [pork barrel scam witness] Benhur Luy credence. The credibility is important once established,” he said.
Trillanes claims he has documents to prove corruption in the construction of the Makati office and parking building.
Asked if he thinks Binay is guilty, Trillanes said: “Based on the evidence, the testimony and documentary. We have not heard anything from their camp except that the probe was initiated for politics.”
Engineer Mario Hechanova, former head of the Makati General Services Department, claimed he received P200,000 in monthly allowance to help rig the bidding of projects.
Hechanova added “he [Binay] knows everything that’s happening in Makati.”
He said it was the late City Engineer Nelson Morales who told him: “Mario, like before, you should know who will win this project.”
Trillanes said he will also ask Makati officials for a breakdown of the city’s budgetary operations and expenses. He claimed Makati has an annual budget of P12 billion.
“They have a P5 billion budget a year for social services. Assuming they have 20,000 families belonging to the urban poor, each one should already have at least one low-cost housing,” Trillanes said.
He also tagged as “scandalous” the transfer of the urban development office to the new building at a cost of P350 million.
“These [issues] should already anger the people,” Trillanes said.
He said it is up to the members of the House of Representatives to see if an impeachment case should be filed against Binay.
“I can only rely now on the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan,” he said.
A recommendation from the Senate committee may be used by the Ombudsman in the filing of a plunder case before the Sandiganbayan.
In a separate statement, the Binay camp tagged Hechanova’s testimony as a lie.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, the vice president's spokesman for political concerns, said Morales and Hechanova were protégés of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, who earlier claimed that Binay benefited from the construction of the building.
“Ask any Makati city government official, City Engineer Nelson Morales and Mario Hechanova were known protégés of Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, not the Vice President,” he said.
Remulla stressed that what Hechanova said in his testimony was his own conclusion and that he gave no direct evidence.
“Hechanova conveniently uses the name of a dead person-- Engr. Morales--knowing fully well that the person cannot attest if his statement is true or not. Such a statement not backed by evidence will not stand in a court of law but in a kangaroo court where such a statement, no matter how ridiculous or false, is encouraged,” he said.
“Any doubt that the hearing is being used as a venue for character assassination and political demolition has been erased by the appearance of Hechanova and the wild conclusions immediately made by Senator Trillanes and Senator Cayetano,” he added.