PRO-ADMINISTRATION Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th on Monday proved that he did not know the difference between linoleum and vinyl but declared anyway that there is “nothing extraordinary” about the Makati City Hall Building 2 after he led an inspection of the controversial structure.
The inspection was greeted by an indignation rally staged by thousands of city residents in support of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and his family.
Trillanes said contrary to the claim of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay that the building is “world class” and “green,” it is not, even as he noted that it lacks proper ventilation and that its air-conditioning system is not even centralized.
He also noted that the parking building has no sensors compared to mall car parks.
Apparently unknowledgable about coverings, the senator announced to reporters who joined the inspection that the building’s flooring is linoleum when, in fact, it is vinyl.
Even though Trillanes had made judgment on the building, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, who accompanied Trillanes, said legislators will still ask Makati officials about what they saw and observed during the inspection.
Of the 17 members of the Senate blue ribbon committee, only Trillanes and Pimentel made it to the actual inspection.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a known nemesis of the Binays, was a no-show.
Sought to comment on Trillanes’ observation and declaration, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, spokesman on political affairs for the Vice President–the Makati mayor’s father–said: “What is important is that the materials used are the same ones reflected in the bill of materials, bidding was conducted and that the Commission on Audit audited the entire process and rendered a finding that there was no overpricing.”
“Outside these issues, they are subjective, biased statements,” Remulla added.
While the senators were inspecting the building, supporters of the Binay family composed of residents, barangay chairmen and city and barangay councilors staged a rally expressing their indignation and disgust with the visit of Trillanes and Pimentel.
They took turns in expressing their unwavering support for the Vice President and Junjun, who are facing plunder charges in connection with the allegedly overpriced building.
The rallyists also condemned what they said is the unjust persecution of their leaders on the basis of unfounded accusations hurled by known political opponents.
A warning issued by one of the barangay chairmen drew one of the loudest roars from the crowd.
“Sa mga senador at mga partidong gustong sumira sa aming mahal na Vice President Jojo Binay, ang mga taga-Makati ay lalaban! Kami ay may mga kaibigan at kamag-anak sa iba’t ibang lalawigan sa buong Pilipinas. Hinding-hindi namin makakalimutan lahat ng ginagawa ninyo [We will fight the senators and other parties who want to destroy the Vice President. We have friends and relatives across the country. We will not forget what you are doing] !” Barangay Chairman Ritchie Rodriguez of South Cembo said.
The residents vowed to stand by the Vice President and his family despite all attempts to put them down, and to support his bid for the presidency all the way to the 2016 elections.
The inspection of the Makati City Hall Building 2 showed that some senators and other critics of the Vice President are “more focused on the 2016 elections than on passing important legislation.”
“If there is anyone in (an election) mode, it is the critics of the (Vice President), who are in all-out election mode,” former Manila Rep. Benny Abante said in a statement also on Monday as he scored Binay’s political enemies for making “groundless allegations” before Senate investigators on the alleged overpricing of the building.
Abante, former chairman of the House Committee on Public Information and now chairman of the Bayan Mamamayan Abante Movement, previously called on the Senate to halt its “investigation in aid of persecution” and attend instead to passing the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and other pieces of urgent legislation.
“The ones benefitting from this investigation are the senators who plan to run in 2016. They are using the Senate as a venue for early campaigning,” he said.
The Vice President earlier said he expects similar attacks in the months leading to the 2016 polls.
In a recent speech before the Financial Executives of the Philippines and Management Association of the Philippines, Binay noted that the Building 2 case “is only the beginning.”
“We expect more to come,” he said, adding that like previous allegations against him, “these complaints will be devoid of facts, devoid of legal basis and fueled by the dirty politics that was supposed to have been swept away with the previous administration.”
With report from JING VILLAMENTE