MANILA - Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin 'Junjun' Binay Jr. said the Senate may also want to look into the projects of Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano in their respective jurisdictions to check if they are overpriced.
In an interview with ANC, Binay said: “If they want to use the same line [being thrown against us], then they should also be answerable. We can explain how we spent our funds for the Makati building, and in the end we might even have paid for it at a cheaper price.”
Binay, his father, and several officials of the local government are now the subject of a plunder complaint for the allegedly overpriced P2.7-billion office and parking building in Makati.
Senator Antonio Trillanes subsequently filed a resolution seeking a probe into the matter, saying it is of national interest since the subject is Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has made known his plans to run for 2016. The hearings will begin this week.
TAGUIG MULTICABS OVERPRICED?
One report that should also be investigated, Binay said, is the allegedly overpriced multicabs of Taguig City.
He said some quarters are again criticizing the Makati government for purchasing several reconditioned multicabs worth P229,000 each.The multicabs, which came from Cebu, were supposedly originally priced at around P155,000 each.
On the other hand, Taguig purchased 18 units of reconditioned multicabs worth P8.964 million, or P498,000 each, based on the documents uploaded on the website of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
“You can already purchase a brand new vehicle with that amount," Binay said.
“Are they willing to investigate this just because it’s of national interest? We have Senator Cayetano who said he wants to become president, and Trillanes who wants to become vice president. Maybe I’m doing Trillanes a favor,” he said.
If Cayetano is found liable for the allegedly overpriced Taguig multicabs, he said “maybe Trillanes will now become the standard bearer of the Nacionalista Party.”
On the issue of the building in Makati, Binay insisted it was not overpriced and that he has the documents to prove that it went through proper bidding and auditing processes.
Lawyer Renato Bondal, who once ran against Binay, 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.
ILOILO CONVENTION CENTER
Binay said that if Bondal’s logic should be followed, then the Iloilo Convention Center backed by Drilon should be considered overpriced as well.
He said the Senate website shows the convention center was priced at P700 million with an area of 6,400 square meters.
Roughly, it would cost P109,000 per square meter, much more than the price attached to the Makati building, he said. He noted the area is in Iloilo, whereas their building is in Makati where land is relatively costly.
“Should they investigate? Trillanes himself said he is willing to investigate his allies for as long as it’s of national interest. More so here since the budget came from the National Government,” Binay said.
In the same show, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said he is willing to investigate the matter if a resolution is filed in the Senate.
“If a senator files a resolution, and the plenary refers it to the blue ribbon committee, if no one wants to take it, I will volunteer to head the probe,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel will head the committee that will probe into the Makati building.
Binay said he is ready to face the committee on Wednesday, but reiterated there was no need for it since it was purely a local issue.
“There is an intent to tag my father as corrupt, a thief, a plunderer… This is intended to malign the name of my father, the entire family. The Senate probe is in aid of someone’s political ambition,” Binay said.