'$114 million shared by Makati execs'

'$114 million shared by Makati execs'
Philippine Vice President Jejormar Binay gestures as he answers corruption allegations against him during a public address in Manila September 18, 2014.

At least P4 billion (S$114 million) from 10 infrastructure projects that the Makati City government awarded to a favoured contractor between 1999 and 2014 went to city officials and resident auditors as kickbacks, according to former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.

The 10 projects awarded to Hilmarc's Construction Corp. cost the taxpayers of Makati at least P15 billion, said Mercado, a witness in a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigation of alleged irregularities in the Makati government during the term of Vice President Jejomar Binay as city mayor.

"Twenty-eight per cent from every project was shared by the mayor down to the lowest official in the web involved in the conspiracy," Mercado told the Inquirer in an interview in his office in Makati.

Mercado said 13 per cent of the 28-per cent kickback went to Binay while he was mayor of Makati.

The remaining 15 per cent went to others-the vice mayor, 16 members of the city council, the city council secretary, members of the the bids and awards committee (BAC), the city engineer, members of the technical working group (TWG), department heads, two sectoral representatives (a barangay chair and the Sangguninang Kabataan chair) and resident Commission on Audit (COA) auditors.

Mercado admitted accepting a share of the kickbacks when he was a city councilor and then vice mayor.

Another building contractor, who agreed to talk to the Inquirer on condition of anonymity, confirmed Mercado's allegations, saying the Vice President's son, current Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr., asked for a "little more."

"The rate has actually gone up. It's actually higher now," the contractor said.

Junjun Binay served as a sectoral representative and later as councilor before he took over the reins from his father in 2010.

Makati's big-budget infrastructure projects in the past decade handled by Hilmarc's were the following: The 22-story Makati City Hall building, worth P6.5 billion.

Phase 2 of the Ospital ng Makati District 1 (P2 billion).

Phases 1 and 4 of the University of Makati Nursing School building (P804 million).

Makati police headquarters (P183.63 million).

Phase 1 of the swimming pool in the Makati Garden Park (P31 million).

Phases 1 to 6 of Makati Science High School (P1.34 billion).

Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Makati University Administrative and Auditorium (P332 million).

Makati City Hall Building II, or parking building (P2.3 billion).

Renovation of treasury building for Makati police station on F. Zobel Street, Barangay Poblacion (P4.98 million). University of Makati school buildings (no available budget).

Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed these projects were implemented during the administrations of the Vice President when he was the mayor (1986-1998; 2001-2010) and his wife, Elenita Binay, who succeeded him (1998-2001) and his son (2010 to present), who, Mercado said, continued the business with Hilmarc's.

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