MANILA - Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice challenged Vice President Jejomar Binay to stop "hiding behind his children" and attend the Senate hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
The P2.7-billion 11-storey Makati City office and parking building is the subject of a plunder complaint against Binay, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and several other Makati City government officials.
"No government administrator or private sector executive will dare spend P2.7 billion for an 11-floor parking and office building unless they are crazy or absolutely corrupt," Erice said.
"This is the reason why VP Binay is hiding behind his children because he is afraid to face the Senate committee because the corruption is so obvious and it will be very difficult to explain it," he added.
He said Binay should answer all allegations against him and "pass the test of integrity and honesty" especially since he will be running for president in the 2016 elections.
"You can't just turn your back and accuse those behind it as resorting to grandstanding and politicking. The bottom line here is that VP Binay still has to answer all the allegations against him. This will not go away unless he himself clarify the issue of overpricing," the congressman said.
Erice noted that Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV are giving the vice president a chance to clear his and his family's name.
He added, "Senators Cayetano and Trillanes are doing the country and the public a favor by ensuring that the next president will not be tainted by corruption."
During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, no less than the former vice mayor of Makati claimed that Binay received kickbacks from the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2.
But Binay, in a statement, vehemently denied Ernesto Mercado's allegations and accused him of lying to lawmakers.
"Puro kasinungalingan ang sinabi ni Mr. Mercado. Noon pa mang kumandidato siya sa Makati kung saan siya ay natalo ay ganyan na ang kanyang mga sinasabi. Puro walang batayan at walang katotohanan. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit siya natalo. Kilala siya ng mga taga-Makati na sinungaling at gumagawa ng kwento," Binay said.