Binay accuser to go on speaking tour

Posted at 08/04/14 9:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Vice President (OVP) yesterday said that Renato Bondal, one of the signatories in the plunder complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay, Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and several city officials, would go on a nationwide speaking tour starting with the Visayas region in the next days.

Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said Bondal will be visiting key cities in Regions 6, 7 and 8.

“The tour also shows that the complainants are apparently well-funded,” Salgado said.

He described the speaking tour as a “circus of lies” where Bondal will be repeating baseless attacks on the vice president who is the perceived frontrunner in the 2016 election.

“The Bondal road show is nothing more than a circus of lies. That he will be visiting the Visayas region, the first of several stops in a planned national tour, also shows that his group has graduated from local opponents to a well-funded demolition crew,” Salgado said.

“They will not only spread lies in Makati. They will now do it nationwide. In short, they are leveling up,” Salgado said.

In the plunder complaint, Bondal accused the vice president and Mayor Binay of involvement in the alleged overpricing in the construction of Building 2 of the Makati City Hall.

Salgado said the 12-story building is an office building with parking floors and not solely a parking facility as claimed by complainants.

“That they presented it as a parking building/facility shows their intention to mislead both the media and the public,” Salgado said.

Salgado also said the project passed scrutiny of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“From the start until the formal turnover, the project was subjected to COA audit. The project passed all the audits,” he said.

Salgado said that the COA did not issue any adverse findings for the project and in fact found the contract price for the project reasonable.

He also debunked claims that the project did not go through proper bidding.

“The project underwent bidding as prescribed by law, contrary to the claims of the complainants. All budgetary releases for the project were approved by the City Council in several ordinances, contrary to the claims of the complainants. At no point did the Vice President during his term as mayor, and incumbent Mayor Jun Binay release funds without City Council approval,” Salgado said.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) is not the final arbiter on overpricing, Salgado explained after the complainants cited the statistics agency’s building standard in the complaint.

“To prove overpricing, an actual canvass of similar items is needed. This has been established by the courts and also part of COA rules. Not NSO statistics but an actual comparison of similar items,” Salgado said.

“The NSO standard of P7,000 per square meter construction cost cited by the group as the standard building cost is the approximate cost for a socialized housing unit, not an office building he explained.”