Antonio Tiu on Thursday presented to a Senate panel a document that he said proves that he, not Vice President Jejomar Binay, owns a sprawling property in Batangas.
Several senators, however, are not convinced and insisted that the businessman was fronting for Binay as the owner of the 150-hectare land in Rosario town.
At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon investigation on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2, Tiu presented a one-page memorandum of agreement (MOA) between him and Laureano Gregorio, the owner of the property that Tiu bought for P400 million.
The agreement, which was signed on January 18, 2013, indicated that Tiu’s company, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., assumes rights over the land.
“Mr. Gregorio shall deliver to Sunchamp all documents and titles evidencing the real and enforceable rights of Sunchamp over the property,” the document stated.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano questioned the legality of the document, saying it was not notarized.
Binay’s camp on Thursday chided the Senate sub-committee inquiring into Binay’s alleged hidden wealth for preventing them from challenging the integrity of witnesses against Binay, particularly former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
JV Bautista, interim secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said there were times when Mercado lied but the Senate panel continued to accept his testimony.
“Our intention is to move that the sub-committee strike out the entire testimony and false statements made by Ernesto Mercado,” Bautista told reporters after he and several UNA officials were banished from the hearing.
Bautista said during last week’s hearing that Mercado denied that he was hospitalized recently, as Binay had claimed.
The Vice President even said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd visited Mercado in the hospital.
Bautista showed reporters what he said were medical records from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center indicating that a person named Ernesto Mercado was admitted to the hospital on October 1 for a heart ailment.
“You can see, Mercado is a lying witness, deliberately putting forward lies and falsehoods. We have a doctrine in law, palsus in onum, palsus in omnibus [meaning]false in one thing, false in everything. When a witness wilfully lies on one matter of his testimony, then all the rest of his testimony will be considered to be falsehood,” the UNA secretary-general said.
Bautista and UNA official Rep. Tobias Tiangco of Navotas City (Metro Manila) were supposed to challenge Mercado’s statement when they were ordered to leave the hearing by pro-administration Senators Cayetano, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Antonio Trillanes 4th.
“Clearly, this hearing is one-sided and the three senators will only hear what they want to hear. This is not a forum where the Vice President can air his side. This is a forum for Mercado’s lies,” Bautista said.
WITH FERNAN MARASIGAN