Dummy firms bagged $168 million worth of contracts with Makati government

Dummy firms bagged $168 million worth of contracts with Makati government
PHOTO: The New Paper

Alleged dummy firms of Vice President Jejomar Binay snared most of the P5.6 billion (S$168 million) worth of contracts that provided security guards, janitors and IT services to the Makati City government for the past 10 to 12 years and it was estimated Wednesday that they got close to P2 billion in "kickbacks."

Violeta Lazo, officer in charge of the city's general services department, gave the estimate to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee on Wednesday regarding the initial results of its review on service contracts in Makati from 2005 to 2014, which covered the period when Binay was mayor up to the suspension of his son, Mayor Junjun Binay.

Witnesses also testified that these contracts were owned and operated by the same people who were either identified with Binay's aides or earlier reported to be part of companies linked to the so-called Hacienda Binay and other Batangas properties as well as University of Makati.

After the three-hour hearing, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV insisted that the "kickbacks" from these contracts could only go to the Binays.

"We have seen the interlocking interests and incorporators and directors. These are the people whom we have identified to have been used in Hacienda Binay and other companies that we have earlier discovered," Trillanes told reporters.

IT contracts

Lazo told senators that her office had looked into the IT contracts worth P926.4 million (covering the period 2008-2014) as well as the janitorial contracts worth P2.3 billion (2005-2014) and the P2.3 billion worth of security contracts (2005-2014).

She said she saw five "red flags"in the transactions:

- For the past 10-12 years, the winning companies for the IT, janitorial and security contracts were all the same.

- The owners of these winning companies were all the same. For instance the owners of Omni Security Investigation Inc., and Corporate Solutions (which were the top two contractors that won the janitorial contracts at P1.3 billion and P570 million respectively or P1.9 billion in total) were the same as they included Hirene Lopez, Bernadette Portollano and Aida Alcantara.

The two companies also had the same incorporators/stockholders that included the three women. For Omni, Marguerite Lichnock, the common-law wife of Binay's missing financial adviser, Gerry Limlingan, was an incorporator while Limlingan himself and Sheila Fe Bernadette were incorporators of Corporate Solutions. Omni also got a P1.7-billion contract to provide janitors for the city government. Also getting a hefty contract of P680,000 was Triforce.

- Omni also won all the bidding for the janitorial contracts even if it went up against Vican Investigation. But it was also shown that the signing representative of Vican-in this case Alcantara-is an owner of Omni.

- Omni Security also had advance information of janitorial services to be bidded out in 2013, one month before the invitation to bid was issued.

Biggest contract

Under questioning by the subcommittee chair Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Trillanes, it was found out that only two project engineers of Cold Works, which got the biggest contract award at P526 million, were hired to do maintenance work-network administration and encoding database-for the city government.

Aside from Cold Works, Powerlink also got a hefty contract of P322 million. Both Cold Works and Powerlink have the same directors and incorporators with Omni and Corporate Solutions.

Trillanes estimated that if the maintenance work and salaries for the project engineers constituted 20 per cent of the contract, then the net profit of 80 per cent of the P900-million contract would be P700 million.

Adding to the P700 million from the IT contracts, the alleged kickbacks of the dummy corporations amounted to P1.960 billion when included with the janitorial and security contracts that were snared by the other dummy firms.

Engineer Mario Hechanova, the former chief of the Makati general services department, speculated that kickbacks could come from ghost deployments and company profits.

Hechanova said that for the security contract, there could be 10 per cent, or 60, of the total 600 security guards who could be considered ghost security guards.

From their monthly salary of P30,000 the past 10 years, this would amount to P204 million.

Hechanova also added the 20-per cent profit margin of Omni could amount to P432 million. He then estimated that this all added up to P612 million.

The janitorial contracts, Hechanova said, could add up to P648 million, based on the 850 janitors getting a monthly salary of P20,000 of whom 10 per cent were ghost employees.

He added here also the expected 20-per cent profit of the company from the contract.

P2-billion bonanza

"So from the P5-billion contracts, close to P2 billion easily went to the family of Vice President Binay or Binay himself … Can we ask the documents so we can forward this to the Ombudsman for appropriate action?" Trillanes said.

He also asked Lazo about the incorporators of Triforce Security Services, Inc.

Sen. Nancy Binay issued a statement jumping the gun on Triforce. Nancy Binay, whose married name is Angeles, apologised to the Angeles family for being "dragged and connected into maliciously manufactured controversies."

She said her brother-in-law and his wife had shares in Triforce but they divested in 2006.

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.