MANILA - Lawyer Renato Bondal tagged Makati City as the “chop-chop capital of the Philippines,” noting the local government splits contracts for one project to allegedly bloat the total price.
During the Senate hearing on the P2.7 billion Makati City Hall II office and parking building, Bondal alleged the local government led by the Binays operates a “modus operandi” whereby projects are divided into phases and bid out separately.
“We only learn of the total price when the project is already finished,” he said. The office and parking building is now the subject of a plunder complaint filed against Vice President Jejomar Binay, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., and others.
He said the same scheme was implemented for the Makati City Hall Building, which had a price of P7 billion; the Ospital ng Makati, which supposedly costs P2 billion for phase 1; and the Makati Science High School.
An ally of the Binays, Senator JV Ejercito, interjected saying San Juan – where he was former mayor – also divided big ticket projects into phases since an annual city budget may not be enough to fund them in their entirety.
The issue on 'bukol'
Senate President Franklin Drilon also stepped in, saying Bondal should stick to the facts and refrain from using “descriptive words” that are politically-charged.
Bondal had used the word “bukol,” among others, to allege that the Binays got kickbacks from the projects.
Drilon said, “May I ask the witness to stick to the facts. This is already a politically-charged hearing, let’s admit it. While I understand your enthusiasm, let’s suppress the descriptive politically-charged language.”
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano also said Bondal has already “concluded that the projects are overpriced. Do you have the documents to prove they are overpriced?”
Mayor Binay said he would submit documents pertaining to the other projects mentioned by Bondal.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV defended Bondal, saying “he is only being emphatic, indignant.”
The Binays earlier alleged Trillanes initiated the probe to bring down the vice president, who has been vocal of plans to become president.
It was also through Trillanes’ questioning that the issue of the “overpriced” Makati cakes emerged.