Alphaland denies Mercado’s claim

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Real estate firm says Binay did not get P200M kickbacks

NO ANOMALY  Darlene Berberabe, President and CEO of Pag-IBIG Fund, testifies before the Senate blue ribbon committee. The Pag-IBIG chief denied claims that the award of a P193 million security service contract was anomalous.  PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

NO ANOMALY
Darlene Berberabe, President and CEO of Pag-IBIG Fund, testifies before the Senate blue ribbon committee. The Pag-IBIG chief denied claims that the award of a P193 million security service contract was anomalous.
PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

Alphaland Corp. on Thursday denied allegations by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that Vice President Jejomar Binay received almost P200 million in kickbacks from a deal between the company and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP).

In a statement, Alphaland said it was Mercado who tried to negotiate a kickback because it was he who transacted with the real-estate firm.

The firm, however, maintained that no kickback was given to any official in connection with the development of a one-hectare BSP property located in Makati City (Metro Manila).


Binay is the president of the BSP.

Appearing at the Senate also on Thursday, Mercado said Binay pocketed five percent of the 20 percent share of BSP from the sale of the property, which was donated to the BSP by by Sime Darby in 1976.

“Kinuhanan ni VP Binay ng 5% ang mga Boy Scouts sa Alphaland deal upang gamitin sa 2010 elections [Binay got 5 percent from Boy Scouts],” he added.

The former vice mayor said the 5 percent is equivalent to P200 million.
He, however, claimed that the BSP has not received anything from the transaction..

The Makati property was sold to Silvertown under a joint sale agreement between the BSP and Sime Darby. Silvertown was later acquired by Alphaland.

The property was appraised at P1 billion by an independent appraiser.
In 2008, the BSP and Alphaland entered into an agreement to develop the property but the BSP will retain ownership of the land.

“The BSP would get 15 percent of the project while Alphaland would get 85 percent,” Mercado said.

He added that he wanted to get 20 percent for the BSP.

The former vice mayor said Gerry Limlingan, alleged “bagman” of Binay, persuaded him to sign the agreement, telling him that 15 percent would go to the BSP and the remaining 5 percent will go to Binay’s campaign kitty.

According to Mercado, Alphaland president and CEO Mario Oreta told him that Binay’s share was invested in Noble Care Management Corp. supposedly to launder the kickbacks.

This was denied by the company.

“Alphaland categorically, and in the strongest possible terms, denies
these baseless and false allegations of Mr. Mercado.

We confirm that there was a deal between Alphaland and Boy Scouts in
connection with that one-hectare prime property in Makati City
(located at Malugay Street corner Ayala Avenue Extension) but that
deal was entirely above board,” the company said.

It cited a letter sent by Oreta in response to Mercado’s allegations.

Oreta noted that it was Mercado who negotiated with his company, and it was the former vice mayor who also signed the contract in behalf of the BSP in his capacity as Senior Vice President and Head of Asset Management Committee.

“I am sure you will remember that you made less than subtle hints
that some ‘benefits’ were due to you for agreeing to conclude this
project, and I am sure that you will also remember what I explained to you that Alphaland was a joint venture company with the Ashmore Group, and that every transaction was closely scrutinized by Ashmore. Thus,
it was impossible for Alphaland to agree to give you any such
‘benefits,’” he said.

Oreta noted that before entering into the transaction with the BSP, an independent company appraised the property and valued it at P1 billion.

“Obviously, Sime Darby which owned 40 percent of the property had their own

appraisal made, and it was on this basis that Sime Darby readily
agreed to sell the 40 percent ownership to Alphaland for P400 million.

Thus, when the Boy Scouts contributed its 60 percent ownership to the
project, it was valued on the same basis as the appraisal and selling
price of Sime Darby to Alphaland, i.e. P600 million, thus earning it a fully carried interest of 15 percent of the project, which was estimated to
cost P4 billion, all of which would be paid for by Alphaland,” he said.

Oreta added that contrary to Mercado’s claims, the transaction with Alphaland was the Boy Scouts’ most successful investment.

“In the face of all of these facts, I had advised you to be very
careful about what you say or infer about this project since it might
blow up in your face. For how can you criticize this transaction which you personally ne­gotiated with me and which is undoubtedly one of the best and successful investments ever made by the Boy Scouts.

It is now obvious that you have chosen to ignore my advice and
instead drag this transaction as part of your politically motivated
and never ending tirade against the Vice President,” he said.

The company said it will file a P100-million libel complaint against Mercado for damaging Alphaland’s reputation through baseless allegations.

Meanwhile, the camp of Binay said the investigation being held by the Senate blue ribbon committee is a farce.

“Malinaw na lokohan na ang nangyayari dahil ang tao na ayon sa Alphaland ay nanghingi ng kickback ang siyang ginagamit na witness para siraan si Vice President Binay [What is happening is a joke because the person that Alphaland said was asking for a kickback is the same person that is being used as a witness to smear the Vice President],” Rico Paolo Quicho, Binay’s spokesman on political affairs, said.

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8 Comments

  1. Hindi kapanipaniwala na hindi alam ni Binay na humihingi ng kickback na P200M si Mercado na hindi kahati si Binay. Vice lang si Mercado at madaming sumbungero sa mundong ito, lalo na sa Alphaland na puro konektado ang mga may ari. Bitayin Lahat Ng Kurap !

  2. I wonder why the Senate sub committee still allow a liar like Roger Mercado to be a resource person in digging dirt on the Binay’s? In a court trial once a witness is caught lying he is admonish and even the prosecution might even withdraw his testimonies but the Senate still allows it in the name of politics.

  3. apolonio reyes on

    Who is Roberto Ongpin ? Was he not the NEDA Chief during the Marcos Martial Law years? Was he not reported in papaers or gossip as the head of the Binondo Central Bank during martial law? Was he not the same man who brokered a loan with DBP to buy Philex Mining stocks and a few months sold the stocks to MVP for a big profit? Was he the brother of Jaime Ongpin, the first Finance Secretary of Pres. Cory who committed suicide after EDSA I?
    Who is Atty. Mario Oreta? Is he the brother of Malabon Mayor Oreta? Is he the brother-in-law of the dancing lady senator Tessie Aquino Oreta an aunt of Pnoy? Birds of the same party flocks together. Tanong lang Po Mom and Sirs?
    Pope Francis said during a Malacanang speech that ” Political leaders should be OUTSTANDING FOR HONESTY, INTEGRITY and COMMITMENT TO THE COMMON GOOD OF ALL ” which I believe will be followed by many but not all Filipinos particularly Catholics. If VP Binay has nothing to hide as accused by vice mayor Mercado in the Alphaland- BSP deal, why don’t he resign or the least take a leave of absence as president of BSP during the investigation so he cannot influence, and attend and defend himself in the senate investigation by the SSBC and meet face to face vice mayor Mercado, Di Ba Bayan?

    • You must have mistaken ROBERTO ONGPIN for JAIME ONGPIN, the cabinet secretary of Cory that committed suicide.

  4. So alphaland say it was mercado who was asking for a kickback & that they couldnt give any kickbacks as each & every deal was closely scrutinised by ashmore. If that is the case then i wonder why alphaland didnt report mercado to a senator or the supreme court or the sandiganbayan. Or to someone in any sort of power. Also since all these allegations have came out against binay from mercado why didnt alphaland come out straight away & say be careful in listening to what mercado says & dont just blindly believe him as it was him when sigining for the deal that asked for a kickback. Its only now when they are implicated that they mention this. Why wouldnt they mention this much sooner if it is true. Is it they arnt bothered by people getting kickbacks. Is it that have in some cases paid kickbacks. There has to be a reason they didnt come forward of their own volition in this extremly important case.

  5. Binay must be really a dummy master but if Mercado can show proof that the supposed KB ended up in Jojo’s hands, then Binay is cooked just for this alone. Scout oath: A scout is trustworthy, etc……… If the 20-year BSP president fails this first test, then he should be given the papal punishment, that of being tied to a rock.