MANILA - The city engineer of Makati was put on the hot seat on Tuesday as Senator Alan Peter Cayetano shot down the local government's claims that the Makati City Hall Building 2 is a "world-class" and "green" structure.
Cayetano grilled Makati City Engineer Line Dela Peña over the specifications of the 11-storey office and parking building during the Senate hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
He said the P2.7-billion structure does not appear to be world-class as earlier claimed by Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
The senator then presented photos of the allegedly overpriced building, which is the subject of a plunder complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son Junjun, and several other Makati officials.
"Wala po kayong kisame o ceiling... Nakalabas lahat ng tubo, nakalabas yung mga electrical," he told Dela Peña.
Dela Peña, for her part, argued," May mga areas po na dapat talaga naka-expose."
Apparently irritated by Dela Peña's response, Cayetano said, "Hindi Ma'am. Huwag natin lokohin ang mga tao. Hindi dapat naka-expose yan."
He went on to show another photo, taken at the building's parking area, which he pointed out was dark even during the day.
"Ang world-class parking po malakas ang ilaw para hindi po nate-tempt ang magnanakaw or whatever," he said.
He also criticized the parking system in the building, which was earlier claimed to be automatic.
"Hindi siya yung binibigay yung card at automatic, parang sa Amerika, pipindutin mo, hindi po. Yung guard ang nagga-ganun sa kanya dahil sira po," he said.
'WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?'
Cayetano also slammed claims that the Makati City Hall Building 2 is a green building.
Dela Peña herself even answered a direct "No, Sir" when asked by the senator if the structure is a certified green building.
She also gave the same answer when asked if the building is capable of harvesting rainwater, which is one of the primary features of a green building.
Cayetano compared the building with condominiums in Makati, which he said were constructed way cheaper.
"Hindi nga apples to apples ang kinukumpara namin eh. Kasi ang sa inyo lumang-lumang Volkswagen, kinukumpara niyo sa latest na Mercedes Benz na presyong bago yung sa inyo. Tapos sasabihin niyo sa amin hindi siya overpriced," he said.
"Maganda for a government office pero huwag nating sabihin na world-class...dahil hindi siya world-class eh. So saan napunta yung pera?" he added.
WHAT IS A GREEN BUILDING?
According to the website of the US Environmental Protection Agency, a green building is a structure that is "environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life-cycle."
"For example, green buildings may incorporate sustainable materials in their construction (e.g., reused, recycled-content, or made from renewable resources); create healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants (e.g., reduced product emissions); and/or feature landscaping that reduces water usage (e.g., by using native plants that survive without extra watering)," it said.
The website noted that good green buildings "often cost only a few percentage points or no more to build than conventional designs."
"A green building may cost more up front, but can save money over the life of the building through lower operating costs."
The website of the American Institute of Architects also describes green buildings as high-quality buildings. "They last longer, cost less to operate and maintain, and provide greater occupant satisfaction than standard developments," it said.