Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said he would not be surprised if one day his detractors, in desperation, pointed to him as the one who ordered the killing of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the revolutionary group Katipunan that fought Spanish colonizers in the 19th century.
He was responding to his critics’ latest allegation that it has been the practice in the city government of Makati to rig the bidding process for key projects that included the construction of the controversial Makati City Hall Building 2, now the subject of investigation by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Binay had long been mayor of Makati City (Metro Manila) before he became Vice President.
“Palagay ko hindi magtatagal pati si Bonifacio ako ang nagpapatay [I think it will not be long before they accuse me of having Bonifacio killed],” Binay told reporters at the wake of Antonio Espares, an overseas Filipino worker beheaded in Libya, at his house at Taguig City (also in Metro Manila).
In his testimony, Mario Hechanova, the former head of the General Services Department of Makati City and former vice chairman of the Bids and Awards committee, claimed that the bidding process during his time mostly were rigged to favor the Binays’ friends and allies.
Hechanova denied receiving “cuts” from the projects that were bid out, although he admitted that the committee received a P200,000 monthly allowance from then-mayor Jejomar Binay.
When asked by Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito if Hechanova received the allowance directly from Binay, the witness said it was given to them by then-city engineer Nelson Morales.
When sought to comment on Hechanova’s allegations, Binay said: “Sana tingnan na lang ninyo ang nangyari. Ang tinuturo ay patay na [Morales] . . . Wala nang tigil ito. Ito ay dala ng mataas ako sa survey. Akala ko nagbago na ang politika. Natuwa pa nga ako pati sa airport, ako na naman. Pero hindi ako ang tinuturo nung nahuli, ang tinuturo si Sen. [Antonio] Trillanes [4th] [Maybe you should look at what happened. They are pointing at Morlaes, who is dead . . . This won’t stop. It is because I rank high in suveys. I thought politics had changed. Actually I am happy that they linked me to what had happened at the airport. But a suspect who was arrested did not point at me but at Sen. Trillanes].”
The Vice President topped recent surveys as the winner if elections for President were held today.
Early this week, his critics accused him of being part of a plot to bomb the Ninoy Aquino International Airport but a suspected bomber who had been arrested instead pointed to Sen. Trillanes as a plotter of the failed attack that also targeted a mall and a building housing the offices of a Filipino-Chinese construction magnate.
Meanwhile, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, spokesman on political concerns for the Vice President, described as a kangaroo court disguised as a Senate hearing an ongoing inquiry into allegations of overpricing in particular of Makati City Hall Building 2.
Remulla also on Friday said Hechanova, like former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, did not give concrete proof or evidence to back up his wild allegations against Binay.
“Hechanova was given the widest leeway to malign the name of the Vice President without any evidence. The words of a former city official who admitted rigging bids were taken as gospel truth by Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th and Alan Cayetano and milked for whatever ounce of opportunity to malign the name of the Vice President,” he added.
“There should be no doubt by now that the Senate investigation is really a kangaroo court, initiated by Trillanes and Cayetano not in aid of legislation but to persecute Vice President Binay who is considered the frontrunner in the 2016 elections,” Remulla said.
According to him, the Senate should look deeper into the conduct of Trillanes after the senator acknowledged that, at the sidelines of a prior hearing, he had warned the representative of the building contractor.
“Witnesses are supposed to be free from interference or improper influence through warnings, veiled threats, inti-midation or promises of in-ducement, especially from se-nators conducting the inves-tigation,” Remulla said.
“Everything that Sen. Trillanes said to the witness could have easily been said in open hearing. Yet, he chose to say it to the witness in seclusion, so he intended his message to be a veiled threat. It does not even matter whether the witness felt threatened,” he added.
Remulla said witness tam-pering within proceedings, including congressional and administrative inquiries, is a serious breach.
During Thursday’s resumption of the Senate hearing, it was revealed, and Trillanes openly admitted, that he privately saw the president of Hillmarc’s Construction Corp., initially to tell him that the firm should put off its testimony, and then later, to warn them against “gambling” in favor of ?the ?Vice President.
Hilmarc’s was the private contractor that built Makati City Hall Building 2.