MANILA - Which would you prefer -- a bigger cake of allegedly poor quality or a slightly smaller cake from a popular bakeshop?
This is the defense of Acting Makati Mayor Romulo "Kid" Pena to insinuations from the camp of suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay that there is possible collusion in the bidding of cakes for Makati senior citizens.
Speaking before ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Pena said the new cakes to be supplied by Goldilocks will only cost P285 each instead of P306.75 from the previous supplier, Bakerite.
Bid documents submitted by Goldilocks showed the following prices: P266 for mocha chiffon cake (9" round by 2" height), P275.50 for marble chiffon cake (9" round by 2" height) and P285 by chocolate chiffon cake (9" round by 2" height).
The August 15-December 15 supply contract has a total cost of P8,666,080.50.
The acting mayor said there is only a small difference in the size of the cakes from the previous supplier, which provided 9"x4" cakes.
"Napakaliit ng diperesenya. Ganito yun, malaki nga e ampaw naman. Ayoko pong magsalita ng kahit ano pa man. Ang tinitignan po natin dito ay yung mura na, masarap pa. Kaya ko po sinasabi Goldilocks kasi yun po ang parating nababanggit lagi. Kung ikaw ay pangkaraniwan katulad ko, hindi ka na mag aasam-asam ng mas mahal pero mag-iisip ka. Ano ba diyan ang mura na masarap pa?" he asked.
In a separate statement, Pena spokesman Gibo Delos Reyes also noted that "it is the quality of the product, not the size, that matters."
"If you were to choose between a free cake from Goldilocks and another from a virtually unknown bakeshop, would you not go for Goldilocks? It is no different from a child readily choosing a cupcake over plain monay for his baon," he said,
Pena denied that he favored Goldilocks in the bidding, saying that there are several popular bakeshops in Makati.
He pointed out that he has "no influence, no friends and no name in the boards of directors" of these popular bakeshops.
WATCH: Pena, Makati councilor engage in 'war of cakes'
Makati's cake contract has come under scrutiny after it was learned that the former supplier, Cups & Mugs Kitchenette & Catering Services, has links with the Binay family.
A Court of Appeals freeze order showed that Cups & Mugs Kitchenette owner Kim Tun Chong has a separate business with Sen. Nancy Binay, Congresswoman Mar-Len Abigail Binay and Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
Cups and Mugs Kitchenette had supplied birthday cakes distributed by Makati City Hall for senior citizens, and also has a contract to manage the cafeteria at Makati City Hall and Ospital ng Makati from 2009 to 2011. A preliminary investigation showed that Cups & Mugs was paid by Makati City government a total of P107.64 million in the three year period -- 2009 - P35.94 million; 2010 - P42.11 million; and 2011 - P29.59 million.
For her part, Councilor Mayet Uy, a staunch ally of the Binays, defended the previous supplier of cakes for Makati's senior citizens.
She said Makati's senior citizens office had said the previous cakes were "customized" for senior citizens, with less sugar.
She also questioned why the new cakes are smaller. "Yung size matters," she said.
"Ang kapal ng cake ay mas malaking bagay sa mga mas mahihirap na tao kasi mas maraming makakakain. Mas makapal, mas maliliit ang slices, mas paghahatian ng mas marami," she said.
Uy stopped short of accusing Pena of corruption but said the acting mayor had been giving out cakes to Makati's senior citizens for the past month, using his own money.
She said that by her own computation, the acting mayor would have spent about P2 million on cakes in the last month if he is indeed paying for the cakes.
She also questioned why the media was allowed to cover the bidding for the cakes contract last Monday.
"Bakit biglang may media coverage yesterday?" Uy said. "Why only now? Is it because the cake is controversial?"
Pena's spokesman, however, said Uy's statements made little sense. "The members of the media who were present at the bidding can attest that everything was above board," he said.
He also said the former cake supplier, Bakerite, along with other interested companies, were invited to participate in the bidding but did not join.
Delos Reyes said a number of elderly residents who recently celebrated their birthdays confirmed that the cakes previously distributed to them were indeed larger, but dry and bland.
He said some of them claimed to have almost choked while eating their cake due to its dry consistency.
"The issue of the cakes is a simple one that requires a simple solution. Let us not make it complicated," Delos Reyes said.
"As far as I know, Councilor Casal-Uy has never been a member of the Bids and Awards Committee. It makes me wonder how she could justify her claim that the bidding out of cakes was anomalous," he said.