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Philippine vice president, son facing plunder case

Publication Date : 23-07-2014

 

Makati City, the Philippines' central business district, has gained the distinction of having the most expensive parking building in the country if a group of Makati City residents are to be believed.

The group on Tuesday brought plunder and graft charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and 23 others over the alleged “unconscionable overpricing” in the construction of an 11-story parking building that the city government supposedly built for 1.56 billion pesos (US$36 million).

In a complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman, lawyer Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso VI of the Save Makati Movement, claimed that the New Makati City Parking Building on F. Zobel Street in Barangay (village) Poblacion was arguably “the most expensive parking building in the entire country.”

Mayor Junjun Binay said the complaint was nothing new and that it was “fabricated.”

The mayor noted that the filing of the complaint came just after the release of the results of a Pulse Asia survey showing that his father was the leading choice for president in the 2016 elections.

“Clearly, our opponents have become desperate to put my father down. Their intention is to malign him by raising baseless accusations like the ones raised in their so-called complaint,” the younger Binay said.

The Vice President is expected to issue a statement on Wednesday on the plunder complaint against him in a speech he is scheduled to deliver at the joint meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the Management Association of the Philippines at the Intercontinental Manila hotel in Makati.

Accusing the father and son of “despicable mismanagement and gross abuse of public funds,” Bondal and Enciso also sought the preventive suspension of the Binays to keep them from influencing the investigation by the antigraft body.

They said the project, which took six years to complete, was started by the city government in 2007 when the elder Binay was the mayor of the country’s financial center.

The building has basement parking, a roof deck and five more floors of parking spaces with a total area of 31,928 square meters, Bondal and Enciso said.

“The overpricing of the building project could not have been committed without a deliberate, systematic and unconscionable raid [on] public funds designed by the Binays and the other respondents to defraud the people of Makati and gain personal profit in the process,” the complainants said in their nine-page joint affidavit.
“The respondents…violated every rule in construction manuals and government procedures in pushing for a project that was grossly overpriced and funded irregularly through supplemental budgets for five years,” they added.

The mayor, who has yet to get a copy of the complaint, said he had received information that there was a plan to file complaints against him, his father and other city officials.

“We told the media about the rumoured plan and we said it [would] be about the parking building. We were correct. We said it [would] allege overpricing based on spurious grounds. We were correct. We said it [would] be filed by local opponents with a reputation for running and losing in all Makati elections. We were correct,” Binay said in a statement.

 

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