MANILA - The local government of Makati denied the cakes given to senior citizens on special occasions cost P1,000 each.
In a statement, City Administrator Eleno Mendoza said the cakes were purchased at only P306.75 each.
He said they have documents to back their claim.
“The figure cited by Mr. Bondal is totally false. Our documents will prove that and we will submit these documents to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,” he said.
The city government gives the cakes to its senior citizens on their birthdays and also during silver wedding anniversaries of senior couples.
Lawyer Renato Bondal, who lost to Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. in a previous election, presented cakes from popular cake shops during Wednesday’s hearing into the allegedly overpriced Makati office and parking building.
He said the Binay cake costs more than P1,000 each, way more expensive than the similarly sized cakes being offered by two popular Filipino bakeshops which are priced at P570 and P390.
"Pansilaw ito sa lahat ng mga matatanda sa buong bansa, birthday cakes for senior citizens. Sa katunayan, wala kahit ni isang anino sa Makati ang nakakaalam kung magkakano ito," he said.
Before he can expound on his claim, however, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Bondal should stick to the building issue.
Makati spokesman Joey Salgado said Bondal’s action was a crude attempt to use the Senate as a platform “to raise malicious, baseless and non-existent allegations against the Binay family.”
“We would want to see Mr. Bondal show documents to prove his claim that the cakes were priced at P1,000. The city government has all the documents, and the purchases went through bidding as required by law,” he said.
Bondal’s action only shows a pattern of lies, he said.
CAKE SUPPLIER NOT OURS
The issue of the Binay cakes was first addressed by Sen. Nancy Binay during an exclusive interview with ANC's Headstart after the May 2013 elections.
In the interview, the senator denied that she owns the company that supplies cakes to the Makati City government, which are given to Makati's senior citizens.
"No. I don't supply that (cakes). First of all, I don't bake. It's my husband who is in charge in the kitchen. It's not my company," she said.
"Why would I do that? I am barred from doing that. My father (Vice President Jejomar Binay) used to be the mayor, my brother (Jejomar "Junjun" Binay, Jr.) is the mayor. Why would we do that?" she added.
According to a city council resolution uploaded on the Makati City website, Binay's brother, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, is authorized to negotiate and sign contracts for the supply of birthday cakes for senior citizens.
A Philippine Information Agency report also said Makati is spending P19.3 million for free cakes on birthdays and golden wedding anniversaries of the city's senior citizens.
In his opening statement during Wednesday's hearing, Mayor Binay said the allegations of Bondal are being used to bring down his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has been vocal about his plans to run for president in 2016.
"It will also be inaccurate and erroneous to compare private buildings in Makati with the city hall building, or with other private buildings in the central business district, simply because building cost is determined among others by the type of building, the features of the building, and the type of soil on which the building is constructed," he said.
Real property industry expert and appraiser Federico Cuervo said there are many processes that must be done to assess the actual cost of a building.
Tapped by Bondal to support a plunder case against the Binays, Cuervo estimated the Makati building price at P23,000 per square meter.
Bondal said this was way lower than the P84,000 per square meter cost infused by the local government to the project.
Cuervo clarified, however, that it was only a hypothetical costing.
“When I was asked to come up with an estimate, we only used the market value… The client only gave us a footprint of a hypothetical building,” he said.
Asked if the building could have an actual cost of P2.2 billion, he said: “I’m not aware of the actual cost since I was not there. If there are obsolescences, if it is overdesigned, it was not considered in the market value. I also did not include the depreciation because I did not see the building.”