Governor Jonvic Remulla of Cavite on Wednesday said he will not be surprised if former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado and other detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay are given immunity from criminal prosecution by the Senate and eventually made state witnesses.
“Given the way Mr. Mercado was accommodated by some senators during the hearings even after he admitted committing a criminal act, I won’t be surprised if they give him immunity just so he can continue to make baseless allegation after allegation against [the]Vice President,” Binay’s spokesman on political concerns added.
“We have information that a former purchasing officer of Makati who is a protege of Mercado will appear. We expect him to show spurious and questionable documents. This is part of their game plan. Mercado and Mario Hechanova colluded to rig biddings, especially to favor Twin Leaf, which is owned by Mercado,” Remulla said.
The Cavite governor earlier slammed Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano for allowing Mercado to get away “without so much as an admonition” after his admission of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Remulla said, the Vice President “is busy working on things which matter to the people. Sen Trillanes is desperate to cover up his failure to prove anything in his ongoing Senate witchhunt. The Vice President finds no need to employ squid tactics to cover up the failures and shortcomings in the investigation, particularly the glaring absence of concrete evidence to back up allegations of overpricing [of Makati City Hall Building 2].”
Mercado admitted to receiving kickbacks from the project during his term as vice mayor. He then speculated that the Vice President may also have benefited from the project.
Remulla questioned Trillanes’ recommendation to place Mercado under the Witness Protection Program (WPP), saying Mercado is the least qualified person to become state witness.
“That Sen. Trillanes is insisting that Mercado be placed under the [WPP] is proof of bias and disregard for the law. First of all, in order for a person to qualify for the WPP, the court needs to determine if that person is not the most guilty. Mercado would definitely not qualify as he admitted receiving kickbacks, and that is guilt by his very own admission,” he said.
“Second, Mercado has not presented any credible evidence to support his allegation against the Vice President [that]was clearly his own speculation,” Remulla added.
But going by the heavy-handed approach of Trillanes and Cayetano and the obvious connivance of other opponents of the Vice President, the Binay spokesman said he will not be surprised if efforts are exerted to make Mercado a state witness.
According to Remulla, the Senate would be “coddling a self-confessed grafter with questionable motives and morals” if it made the former vice mayor a state witness.
“This [apparent scenario]all reeks of a badly-written script, with the Senate set as the stage for this political drama,” he said.