Binays' 'parking building' not overpriced - COA

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 05 2014 08:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 06 2014 04:09 AM

MANILA - The 11-storey “parking building” in Makati that was used as basis for a plunder complaint against the Binays is not overpriced, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

In a six-page report dated February 2014, resident auditor Cecilia Caga-anan said the “contract cost of Makati City Parking Building was considered reasonable…”

The report was in response to a letter by lawyer Renato Bondal, one of the petitioners in the plunder complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay and Makati City Major Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.

In the plunder complaint filed last month, Bondal claimed the building is “the most expensive parking building in the entire country.” He cited a 2007 data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showing that the average construction cost of a commercial building is P8,193 per square meter.

Bondal said the "parking building" in Makati cost around P60,000 per square meter.

Caga-anan, upon consulting the technical audit specialists, said the statistical data from the NSO were merely based on approved building standards and documentary requirements without the construction costs.

“Construction costs of buildings vary depending on its design and type of building… Structures with parking areas require different design as compared to common/regular building which is subjected to heavier and moving loads. In addition to, the building is designed to withstand earthquake with certain level of intensity,” she said.

A prime example, she noted, is the Makati City Hall Building itself.

“Based on available data gathered, the soil structure was found soft, and hard strata at this area was reached from 13 meters to 15 meters elevation from the ground.”

The local government of Makati earlier said the questioned building is not for parking alone.

Makati City Administrator Eleno Mendoza Jr. said the building also houses offices.

“We would like to clarify that the building being questioned is not merely a parking building. The parking areas are located in the basement and in the second up to sixth floors. The ground floor, seventh up to 10th floors house various offices, including frontline service offices, while the 11th and 12th floors hold the storage facilities and some office spaces,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the ground floor currently houses the Business Permits Office and License Division, both frontline service offices catering to the needs of residents and the business community.

Vital offices in the upper floors include the Makati Action Center, Makati Anti-Drug Abuse Council Office, Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, Information and Community Relations Department, Department of Environmental Services, Museum and Cultural Affairs Office, Tourism Office, Redemption Center of the Public Safety Department, and other offices.

Completed in March 2013, the building has a landscaped roof deck, an atrium at the seventh floor, LED lighting, and glass walls and panels that allow for sunlight to provide natural illumination to most areas during daytime.

It is considered a green building.

Caga-anan said the audit groups “did not disclose any adverse finding on the Makati City Parking Project neither in the annual audit reports… nor in the files of Audit Observation Memoranda, Notices of Suspension and Disallowance, thus it could be construed that the payments were allowed in audit.”

The Binays earlier said the plunder complaint is clearly linked to the 2016 elections. They noted it was filed after a Pulse Asia survey revealed the vice president had topped a presidential survey.