MANILA - A former Makati official on Thursday said the bidding for the P2.2 billion Makati City Hall building 2 was rigged in favor of Hilmarc's Construction Corporation by then mayor and now Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
Engineer Mario Hechanova, the former head of Makati City's general services department and vice chairman of the bids and awards committee, claimed he was ordered by then-city Engineer Nelson Morales to rig the bidding for the project.
"Pinatawag ako ni City Engineer, sabi niya: 'Mario, gaya ng dati alam mo na kung sino ang dapat manalo sa project na ito.' Sabi niya na Hilmarc’s Construction,” Hechanova told the Senate inquiry investigating the alleged overpricing of the Makati building.
"Totoo po. Niluto po namin," he added.
Hechanova said instructions coming from Morales were always considered to be instructions coming from then Mayor Binay and that the then-city engineer could not have acted on his own.
"Pag siya ang nag-utos, alam namin na si mayor ang nag-utos, si Vice President Binay. Mabubuko siya ni mayor kung siya lang at siguro matagal na siyang tinanggal sa trabaho kung siya lang,” he said.
Morales was killed in an accident in Legaspi, Bicol in September 2012.
To rig the bidding, he said Hillmarc's was instructed to submit bidding documents even before the actual bidding so that they could check the completeness of their papers.
He also said that they also got the competitors for the project to make sure that Hillmarc's would bag the deal.
"Kami ang kumuha ng magiging kalaban nila. Kami ang kumuha ng documents at sinigurado namin na mas mataas ang bid nila sa bids ng Hillmarc...Kalakaran na ho sa amin sa Makati yan," he said.
"Ipe-prepare na lang namin yung papel nila tapos saka nila pipirmahan."
Sen. Koko Pimentel noted that in the first two phases of the Makati City Hall building 2 project, Hillmarc's bagged the contracts because they submitted bids that were either P300,000 or P500,000 less than the second to the lowest bidder.
Hechanova said other companies that tried to join the bidding would sometimes be disqualified through technicalities.
He cited one instance wherein they received instructions that one company bidding for a firefighting equipment contract could not win.
"Ang ginawa namin - kinulong namin sa elevator hanggang ma-late sa pagsubmit ng bidding documents," he said.
He said a friend of then-Councilor Junjun Binay, son of the vice-president, was slated to win the project.
He also claimed he did not get kickbacks from any of the deals but was paid P200,000 allowance monthly as a member of the BAC.
The vice-president, his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and other Makati officials are facing a plunder complaint for the alleged overpricing of the building.
CAKES CAME FROM NANCY
The former Makati official also claimed that Binay also followed up on the payment for the cakes that were being delivered to the senior citizens of Makati.
He claimed the mayor was following up on the payment because it would go to his daughter, the current Senator Nancy Binay.
"Minsan po pinatawag niya ako at ang sabi niya sa akin: 'Mario, ano ba ang nangyayari dun sa payment sa cake ni Nancy,'" he said.
He said he had to hold off payment because the list of senior citizens submitted by the social welfare department did not have signatures.
Asked if he believes that Binay's daughter supplies the cakes, he said: "Sa palagay ko ganun po kasi ang fina follow-up yung bayad e."
Binay's daughter earlier denied claims that she owns the company that supplies the cakes to the Makati city government.
In his testimony, Hechanova said he quit in 2009 after 19 years as a Makati City employee.
He denied that he was offered anything to testify in the Senate hearing.