MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV wants former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado to be placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) because of his knowledge on the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Saturday, Trillanes said Mercado needs to be protected following his claim that his former ally, former Makati Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay, received kickbacks in the building project.
"Importante yung magiging testimonya niya para makita yung mas malaking picture na nangyayari diyan sa Makati. So ni-recommend ko siya na state witness, parang yung kay Benhur Luy na nag-admit din siya na kumita...pero mas interesado tayo sa mas malaking isda," Trillanes said.
Luy is the key whistleblower in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam case. Alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and three senators -- Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada -- have been detained for plunder and graft charges in connection with the anomaly.
According to Trillanes, Mercado, who admitted on Tuesday's Senate hearing that he himself also got kickbacks from the project, revealed that other projects in Makati City were also overpriced.
The senator said almost 90 percent of the city's funds go only to the government officials.
"Nung kinwento niya ang iba't-ibang kalokohan diyan na ginagawa sa Makati, nako, talagang kikilabutan ho kayo. Tapos yung mga taga-Makati ang ibinibigay lang pala sa kanila barya," he said.
He said Mercado is still thinking if he would like to be placed under the DOJ's WPP. He, however, warned that if the former vice mayor does not agree to become state witness, "maiipit ho siya diyan."
In a separate interview with dzMM, Binay's spokesperson for political affairs Cavite Govenor Jonvic Remulla criticized Trillanes for acting as if he is with the justice department.
"Si Senator Trillanes, hindi naman siya DOJ. Ang DOJ lang pwedeng magsabi nun," Remulla said.
"Kita ninyo, judge na, piskal pa, jury na, DOJ pa. Eh ano natitira sa atin? Wala na," he added.